GENEVA (ILO News) – ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, has welcomed the new UN Resolution on promoting the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development, passed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The social and solidarity economy is characterized by voluntary cooperation and mutual aid, democratic and/or participatory governance, and autonomy and independence. Working across economic sectors, social and solidarity economy entities underline the primacy of people and social purpose over capital in the distribution and use of profits and assets. They include cooperatives, associations, mutual societies, foundations, self-help and voluntary groups.
The resolution, Promoting the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development, was adopted on April 18, 2023. It recognizes that the social and solidarity economy can contribute to the achievement and localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In particular, the UN Resolution emphasizes the contribution of the social and solidarity economy to decent work, the promotion of international labour standards and fundamental rights at work, poverty alleviation, and social transformation and inclusion. It further underlines the role that the social and solidarity economy can play to enhance business and entrepreneurial potential, strengthen productivity and competitiveness, and facilitate access to finance, markets and other business development services.
The UN Resolution refers to the general discussion held at the 110th International Labour Conference in June 2022, on decent work and the social and solidarity economy. This high-level session, the first of its kind in the UN system, resulted in the adoption of a resolution on decent work and the social and solidarity economy by the ILO’s 187 Member States.
Subsequently, in November 2022, the 346th ILO Governing Body session acted to support the ILC decision by adopting a seven-year strategy and action plan on decent work and the social and solidarity economy (2023-29) .
“The social and solidarity economy is now, rightfully, getting global recognition for the part it can play in shaping a sustainable, just and resilient future for us all,” said Houngbo. “This UN Resolution shows that momentum is building behind this idea, and we must seize the moment. That’s why the ILO proposes setting up a Global Coalition for Social Justice. A broad, healthy social and solidarity economy can play an important role in reducing inequalities and spreading prosperity, opportunity and sustainability. At the same time, it can help create a virtuous circle, bringing greater awareness of the need for social justice, which in turn will encourage the systemic changes we need for the social and solidarity economy to flourish.”
The new UN Resolution requests the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to prepare a report on implementing the resolution with the help of the UN Task Force on the Social and Solidarity Economy. The ILO co-founded the Task Force in 2013 and is currently its Vice-Chair.
The resolution also includes placing an item on promoting the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development on the provisional agenda for the 79th UNGA meeting in 2024.