Social Solidarity Economy Recommendations for the Post-2015 Development Agenda
-> Download the pdf version of the SSE recommendations, signed by 500 organizations from 65 countries as June 30, 2014
-> Read the article on the presentation of the recommendations to the United Nations on July 3, 2014
The organizations listed below would like to share a set of recommendations for the post-2015 Development Agenda with the United Nations Offices and the Representatives of various States. These recommendations are based on the collaborative and mutual help practices of social solidarity economy initiatives and other organizations.
We wish to collectively express our deep concerns about the four High Level Reports presented to the Executive Secretary Ban Ki-moon, and about his proposal presented during the 68th General Assembly in September 2013 on the occasion of a special event on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals. We believe that the proposals fail to properly address the enormous challenges which humankind is facing, given the multiple systemic global crises that result from the prevailing economic model of neoliberalism that has dominated our world in recent decades.
We recommend that Governments adopt the recommendations available in the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) report “Advancing Regional Recommendations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda”. This report was based on the outcomes of a thorough consultation with several Networks and Movements on 5 continents, and was officially handed to the UN State Members by the President of the 68th session of the General Assembly on September 25, 2013 (more information here). We also endorse the policy briefs produced from this report.
The proposals that follow are based on some of these recommendations (with amendments). They are viewed by the Social Solidarity Economy movement as being crucial to enabling a real paradigm shift in the development model, and they are based on existing practice. The Social Solidarity Economy is part of the answer that is needed today, and thus must be adequately recognized and supported. The recommendations are organized in 4 axes: 1 – Indicators to measure poverty, inequality, development and material and immaterial well being; 2 – Transitioning to a Fair, Social and Solidarity Economy; 3 – Adopting a human rights-based approach to development; and 4 – Participation and transparency in international instances/processes.
1 – Indicators to measure poverty, inequality, development and material and immaterial well being
1.1 The eradication of extreme poverty is only possible by a holistic approach which must be based on equity of wealth and of access to natural resources, health, living conditions and education: Concentration of wealth (in finance, land or property) must be considered in its true light: an obstacle to development. We thus recommend that the fundamental motto of the MDGs post-2015 be “To achieve Equity for all”.
1.2 Fundamental (paradigmatic) change of development indicators: There are several non-monetary aspects that are present in a healthy society, like self-production and consumption, care work, community relationships, collective task forces, food sovereignty, including local peasant and family farmers’ rights to traditional and heritage seed saving and preservation, exchange and their right to resow these seeds, and to practice agroecology, direct producer-consumer distribution chains, sharing, respectful gender diversity and balance, respect of, and learning from traditional culture and respect for all racial differences, preservation and development of arts and culture, access to clean environment, water, land, livelihood and public health and education, among others. The indigenous nations in Latin America propose an integrated view of development, called BUEN VIVIR. In Asia there is the concept of the Gross National Happiness Index, and in Africa the Ubuntu proposal. These frameworks offer a set of qualitative and quantitative indicators that provide a more holistic measure of the level of development and health of a nation, integrating the economic, social, political, ethic, ethnic, environmental and cultural dimensions and promoting the justice and the individual and collective liberties. We have rich examples of public policies and constitutional laws in different countries that are based on these premises.
We recommend that these indicators be considered as the reference to evaluate poverty, inequality and development in the MDGs.
1.3 Adopt a goal on reversing growing inequalities that would include: (i) a thorough assessment of the structural causes of inequalities; and (ii) targeted measures to overcome them, such as provision of direct support to SSE initiatives that are expressed and supported by local communities, respond to community needs, and enhance their resources and capacity building.
2 – Transitioning to a Fair, Social and Solidarity Economy
There are hundreds of thousands of economic initiatives on all continents based on collective practices, which are intrinsically inclusive and rooted in the community, and that generate active citizenship by the way in which its members interact. Women’s emancipation, religious and racial equality, and a respect for diversity are integral and essential parts of these processes. This approach preserves and includes indigenous and traditional cultures in their practices, creates decent work, local ownership and reinvestments within the community. Empowerment of communities, and of its members, is also an essential characteristic of all these initiatives.
These characteristics are naturally embedded in SSE initiatives as part of their economic activity, which comprises various sectors in rural and urban areas, including the production of goods and services, fair trade, local distribution and value chains, responsible consumption, solidarity finances, natural resource management, among many others. The producers in these initiatives develop economic processes which are intimately related to their culture, preservation of the environment and mutual cooperation. In rural areas, peasant farmers are responsible for a myriad of agroecological initiatives that successfully guarantee the right to food sovereignty in the territories. These initiatives in all their respective diversity, preserve the planet, provide decent work, contribute to the fight against climate change through a global reduction of agro-chemical inputs and GMO (genetically modified organisms) products.
2.1 The well being of every person should be the main objective of national public policies on economic development. We thus recommend that Social Solidarity Economy should be a fundamental framework and have an active role in designing those public policies.
2.2 Clear goals and indicators for public policies and mechanisms to create a favourable environment to enable Social Solidarity Economy to flourish, in terms of funding, supportive tax measures, specific criteria for inclusive public procurement, adequate legal frameworks and access to education. These goals will have as side effect the inclusion and development of the most excluded sectors from the economic system.
Prioritize investment in small-scale agroecological and organic food production to serve local consumption needs rather than export markets; promote land reform and redistribution; legislate protective measures to prevent land grabs; promote quality certification based on peer-assessment and support; support local biodiversity and community managed heritage seed banks.
Create SSE-appropriate legislative and legal frameworks, providing low-cost capital, social and ecological criteria for solidarity-based public procurement, privileged access to infrastructure and funding for development aid in these fields.
Organization of public events and campaigns to make more people aware of SSE practices and proposals.
Guarantee the right of self-determination of local territories to their development model, including the right to decide on the presence and activities of transnational corporations.
2.3 Guarantee that Development Funds aimed at fostering economic development be transferred via local tools of solidarity economy finance, such as community banks (owned and managed by the community), rotating funds (ROSCAs), community-owned micro-finance institutions and local credit cooperatives, since they are the most appropriate actors for funding local development. State banks and funds should provide not only loans but also capacity-building support to these initiatives.
2.4 Ensure universal access to the Commons (water, public land, energy, air, forests, biodiversity, diversity, peace, basic and higher level education, health, etc.) that are the public assets of all citizens, and that therefore should be neither commodified nor privatized. (a) Promote policies that are fully inclusive and distributive: ensure universal access to essential public services. (b) Adopt natural resource management approaches such as territorial management planning, common-pool resource management, and the ecosystems approach to establish local, democratic, holistic management of natural resources that ensures sustainability and equitable use and distribution of benefits. (c) Ensure clear goals for achieving food sovereignty and the protection of native heritage seeds are put in place with the relevant national and local stakeholders, specially including marginalized people and comunities. (d) guarantee the right to information by clear policies of democratization of the media, both in content production and in broadcasting.
2.5 Promote the diversification of national economies towards more localized, employment-intensive forms of production and consumption as well as international fair and solidarity trade, shifting away from resource-intensive means such as reliance on primary commodity exports (such as extractivism, mining and industrial agriculture such as monoculture). This would also imply introducing public policies that require providing visibility on production processes for end-consumers.
2.6 Subject existing partnerships of States with the corporate sector, including “public-private partnerships” to binding accountability and transparency mechanisms, aligned with the imperatives of human rights, environmental protection and guarantee the sovereignty and self-determination of States and local communities.
2.7 Implement obligations of direct accountability not only for corporations but also for investors, on the positive and negative impacts that result from corporations’ activities and projects in which they invest.
2.8 Adopt a goal of full and decent work for all, articulating all four pillars of the ILO Decent Work Agenda, and add the right to collective work and immigrant workers’ rights.
2.9 Review and cancel all clauses of international trade and investment agreements that restrict the ability of governments to regulate trade and foreign investments in the public interest, impose barriers to technology transfer, prevent fair taxation, threaten biodiversity, traditional cultures and societies, and include other measures not consistent with the objectives of sustainable development.
2.10 Ensure that the trade architecture provides the flexibility for developing countries to adapt trade policies to protect the livelihoods of small-scale producers and foster nascent domestic industries, including by giving Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) serious weight, operationalization, and legal status for developing countries in the next phase of negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO). We demand WTO remove the issue of food from negotiations (including Free Trade Agreements) and therefore end the commodification of and speculation on food.
2.11 Guarantee full public disclosure of the negotiations and documents in all trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. All trade negotiations should include consultation mechanisms for the participation of civil society actors of the region and the world. Trade negotiations should be directly supervised by the UN.
2.12 Reform the international financial architecture, implementing a range of measures to prevent the socialization of the costs of corporate malpractices; increase financial regulation and reverse the financialization of the economy in a manner that would allow for a sustained shift of resources from the financial economy to the real economy; Establish clear goals to help eradicate tax havens. Add mechanisms that provide full public transparency and democratic control of cross-border capital flow; Create an international financial transaction tax to reduce speculation, and provide funds for fostering sustainable development and poverty eradication.
2.13 Reform and democratize international financial institutions to ensure that they: (i) give much greater voice to developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries, (ii) genuinely respond to national and regional circumstances and priorities; (iii) catalyze productive investment; and (iv) abide by the international human rights obligations of States. The activities of financial institutions must be subordinated to the imperatives of the human rights and sustainable development frameworks.
2.14 Energy matrix shift: (a) Remove all subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries; end subsidies to carbon-emitting transnational corporations; and adopt/enforce the principle of “polluter pays” through quantifiable goals and measures. (b) Promote carbon-free sources of renewable energy, including the expansion of solar and wind energy and small-scale hydropower; aggressively phase out fossil fuel and nuclear energy, both of which carry substantial financial, environmental and social liabilities.
2.15 Effectively address climate change: Conclude a fair, ambitious and binding international climate change agreement to protect the rights of Mother Earth, which should: ensure that the parameters for reducing greenhouse gas emissions follow the ecological limits and timelines defined by science; guarantee that the implementation of this agreement is approved democratically by the population through open and transparent consultation mechanisms; focus on non-market, community, agroecological and social solidarity-based mechanisms to address climate change; avoid any commodification of natural resources such as the market-centered approach of the so called “green economy”.
3 – Adopt a human rights-based approach to development
3.1 Adopt the international human rights framework, including all international human rights agreements covering the full range of economic, social, cultural, civil, political and ecological rights, as well as the necessary human rights accountability mechanisms, to guide policy formulation and evaluate impacts at national and international levels.
3.2 Review all UN protocols, agreements and resolutions, specially those related to human rights to incorporate gender and diversity approaches.
3.3 Focus support for monitoring and ensuring the rights of marginalized people, particularly those confronted by intersecting inequalities based on gender, age, class, ethnicity, indigenous origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities, and/or status as migrants, asylum-seekers or refugees, many of whom have been systematically, historically and continually excluded. Sexual and reproductive health and rights should also be included.
3.4 Provide public social security mechanisms, such as the right to retirement for workers in informal social solidarity economy initiatives, domestic workers and small-scale producers.
3.5 Adopt goals focused on the rights of youth to a peaceful future that includes decent work and quality of life. Youth Social Solidarity Economy initiatives should be supported and promoted, through economic and technical means and the promotion of participation of the youth in social solidarity economy forums and networks. Youth should have the right and the support to build their personal, economic and political life.
3.6 Subject extractive industries and agribusiness to human rights and sustainable development imperatives, by (a) adopting strong regulatory frameworks to hold extractive industries and agribusiness to account for human rights and environmental abuses. (b) Respect, protect and fulfil Indigenous and all traditional peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent, to self-determination and guarantee their access to traditional lands, territories and resources, as they are disproportionately affected by harmful practices of extractive industries and land-grabbing. (c) Valorize and promote community-based associative initiatives that have a low environmental impact instead of the extractivism of transnational corporations.
3.7 Remove barriers to the free circulation of people between different countries.
4 – Participation and transparency in international instances/processes
4.1 Support the effective, clear and open participation mechanisms of the Social Solidarity Economy Movement in the recently created UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy, not only at global level but also through national and continental participatory processes which include SSE practitioners, public policy makers and networks.
4.2 We recommend that, as one of its first actions, the UN Task Force on Social Solidarity Economy initiate an annual UN Inter-Agency Conference on Advances and Challenges of SSE, whereby the existing ILO Academy on SSE the UNRISD Conference and other SSE activities converge in a single, integrated and strengthened activity.
4.3 Include binding clauses on human rights and SSE in regional integration processes and mechanisms for trade and commerce between nations. Direct participation of civil society should also be reinforced in these instances.
4.5 Fulfill the rights to participate in and access to information in post-2015 processes, and ensure that these rights, along with the right of access to justice, are respected, protected and fulfilled in all national and international governance.