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François Hollande and Paul Ladd Put SSE at the Heart of the SDGs

29 Sep 2015

This Monday, incoming UNRISD Director Paul Ladd took the podium along with French President François Hollande at a High Level Event of the Leading Group on Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

President Hollande delivered an engaged speech, noting that the underlying principles of the SDGs are inspired by SSE. Paul Ladd, speaking for the first time on behalf of UNRISD while still representing UNDP, underlined the strong potential of SSE as a means of implementation of the SDGs and called on Member States to support SSE initiatives at the national level and through the UN.

UNRISD has played an key role in bringing SSE to such a prominent position at the UN and in development debates more generally. Following a ground-breaking inquiry and conference on social and solidarity economy in 2013, the Institute was instrumental in establishing the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE, of which it took on the secretariat for the first year and still remains a leading member. The Task Force has collaborated closely with the Mont-Blanc Meetings to push for governmental recognition of SSE, culminating in the creation of the Leading Group. Since then the Task Force has continued to work closely with the Leading Group, including active participation in a side event organized by the Leading Group at the Third Financing for Development Conference held in Addis Ababa in July this year. Further collaboration to strengthen SSE and develop its potential as means of implementation of the SDGs is foreseen.

Both the Leading Group on SSE and the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE were well-represented among the speakers at the event, which was organized by France on behalf of the Leading Group and coordinated by its permanent secretariat, The Mont-Blanc Meetings (MBM)—International Forum of Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs in collaboration with UN-NGLS. Speakers for the Task Force included Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director General of ILO, Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief of UNCTAD in New York and Sharon Brennen-Halyock, Director of FAO in New York. RIPESS, the Intercontinental Network of SSE and the International Co-operative Alliance (civil society organizations with Observer Status within the Task Force) were also represented. Speakers for the Leading Group included the Foreign Minister of Morocco, Salaheddine Mezouar, the First Lady of Costa Rica, Mercedes Peñas and representatives from the governments of Colombia and Cameroun.

Members of the Leading Group endorsed a draft Declaration prepared in collaboration with the Task Force and calling for SSE to be considered an integral part of the implementation of the SDGs.

View the event on UN TV.