Text of the intervention made at the French Side-Event at the High Level Political Forum – HLPF, July 2020.  The intervention was in French. Here is translation to English.

Why the United Nations needs Social and Solidarity Economy to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals?

The Intercontinental network for the promotion of social solidarity economy (RIPESS) and many sister organizations, urge immediate action in these current crises time.

We are here to offer and promote an approach that addresses the key question of this year’s HLPF – Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.

This theme is the result of last year’s HLPF that recognized that the world was not on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

COVID-19 has aggravated the situation and the challenges for the next decade are even greater.

This renders even more imperative that the countries of the world fully integrate existing transformative pathways that have been neglected or ignored by the business as usual development paradigms. Otherwise, we will continue to see rising inequality a concentration of wealth of indecent proportions, lack or access to quality education, health and social protection, extreme poverty for hundreds of millions, exclusion of women and youth to a prosperous life, etc. And of course, climate change will continue.

This approach, which dates to the 19th century, has undergone a strong renewal in recent decades. SSE organisations have emerged all over the world, largely thanks to those who have been left behind by today’s globalisation. People have created these organizations to meet their basic needs, whether for food, shelter, or income-generating activities. Often, these organizations are at the heart of local economic systems and are less carbon intensive, and in many cases even carbon neutral.

The SSE approach has grown by leaps and bounds in many countries. In some countries, employment in this sector is from 7 to 10% of all jobs. Over 20 countries have enacted legislation or policies for support to SSE.

We must say that we are not surprised by last year’s conclusion that the world is not on track to achieve the SDGs. Just as the world did not achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Recent decades have seen many innovations with laudable intentions such as CSR, micro-credit, impact financing, PPPs, and many others. However, these innovations have not had a significant impact on inequality, women’s empowerment, improvement of living conditions, climate change, etc.

SSE already exists and has a track record. The United Taskforce on SSE has published papers that document this well.

Solidarity and cooperation, fundamental human traits, are at the heart of these activities. They also explain why these organizations are resilient, which was the case during the 2008-2009 financial crises as well as growing evidence of a similar resiliency during the current crises.

The world has 2 billion people who work in the informal economy. A majority are women.  Their situation has worsened in the last months.

To meet all these challenges, people are ready and willing to organize economic activities, but they need favourable public policies, access to capital, access to markets, appropriate support mechanisms, measures that are often reserved for traditional businesses.

In his appeal last March, Secretary General Gutters insisted that the world must recover better, with a more inclusive approach more sustainable, gender-equal, and carbon-neutral path—better than the “old normal”.

SSE can make a significant contribution to implement that appeal.

To fully achieve its potential, the United Nations General Assembly needs to adopt a resolution recognizing SSE to achieve the SDG’s from the local to the global.

We have the firm conviction that humanity will not overcome inequality and poverty, implementing empowerment of women and Universal Social Protection without SSE.