UN Adopts First Resolution on SSE for Sustainable Development
Euro Coop welcomes the United Nations General Assembly's historic resolution in recognising and promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development.
On 18th April 2023, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the first resolution on promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) for Sustainable Development. The resolution marks an important step in mainstreaming and enhancing the international dimension and profile of the SSE. The International Cooperative Alliance, as an observer of the UN Task Force on the Social and Solidarity Economy, has been part of the discussion over the last few years.
The resolution includes a definition of the SSE as “enterprises, organisations and other entities engaged in economic, social and environmental activities which serve the collective and/or general interest, based on the principles of voluntary cooperation and mutual aid, democratic and/or participatory governance, autonomy and independence and the primacy of people and social purpose over capital in the distribution and use of surpluses and/or profits”. The resolution recognises co-operatives as part of the SSE, together with associations, mutual societies, foundations, social enterprises, self-help groups and “other entities operating in accordance with the values and principles of the social and solidarity economy”.
The document recognises how the SSE can contribute “to the achievement and localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in terms of employment and decent work, the provision of social services, the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, access to affordable finance, and local economic development, as well as inclusive and sustainable growth”, among others.
The resolution encourages UN Member States to promote and implement national, local and regional strategies, policies and programmes for supporting and enhancing the SSE through dedicated legal frameworks, national statistics, fiscal and public procurement incentives, education curricula and capacity-building and research initiatives and reinforcing entrepreneurship and business support. Multilateral, international and regional financial institutions and development banks are also called upon to support the social and solidarity economy, including through existing and new financial instruments and mechanisms adapted to all stages of development.
This resolution co-exists with current UN resolutions on co-operatives in social development, adopted since the 1950s. These resolutions recognise that co-operatives promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of local communities and all people, including women, young people, older people, people with disabilities and indigenous peoples. They also state that co-operative enterprises often serve the socially excluded and vulnerable sectors of the population that traditional profit-driven businesses may not be best placed to tackle, and therefore play an important role in supporting socially inclusive policies that drive inclusive development, particularly in developing countries.
As the European Community of Consumer Co-operatives, Euro Coop welcomes the UN resolution on promoting the SSE for sustainable development and strongly believes in the potential of the SSE to contribute to a fairer and more sustainable economy. The definition of the SSE included in the resolution aligns with Euro Coop's vision of co-operatives as enterprises based on voluntary cooperation, democratic governance, and the primacy of people over capital. Euro Coop looks forward to working with its members, partners, and stakeholders to implement the resolution's recommendations and help build a more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive economy.