Hamish Jenkins updates about the last UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) taking place last 13 December 2023 according to him, one of the most important meetings of the UNTFSSE’s history.

Prior to the meeting, two major processes were underway:

1.       A joint letter by #UNTFSSE observers that have a historical background in the global #SocialSolidarityEconomy movement addressed to the Co-Chaires of the Task Force containing specific demands to ensure that this unique #UN entity remains faithful to fundamental values and principles of SSE in the tasks assigned to the Task Force by UN General Assembly Resolution  A/RES/77/281 “Promoting the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development“ in supporting its implementation and coordinating the drafting the UN Secretary-General’s report on progress made by 2025.

This letter was in response to an open letter submitted by Catalyst 2030, entitled “Encouraging the Private Sector Engagement with the #SocialEconomy” and signed by Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President of Microsoft, Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, SAP and Åsa Skogström Feldt, from IKEA, Founding Member, #GlobalAllianceforSocialEntrepreneurship. The letter expresses support for the implementation of the #UNResolution and calls for “appropriate representation of the private sector in the planning process.” 

The primary purpose of this response by observers representing the global SSE movement on the Task Force was to ensure there are no risks of a private sector takeover of the Task Force by corporate entities associated with the #WorldEconomicForum, especially in light of the capacity constraints of UNTFSSE Co-Chairs, members and observers. The Co-Chairs were cognisant of these concerns and responded that they are considering the development of both a resource mobilization strategy and a private sector engagement strategy along the lines of the substance in the SSE observers’ letter. That issue was not discussed during the 13 December meeting of the UNTFSSE.

2.       A revised draft #StrategyActionPlan focused on the UNTFSSE’s role in facilitating #implementation of the UN SSE resolution. Most of the suggestions made by #RIPESS were integrated in this new version, following an initial draft produced on the basis of discussion of the UNTFSSE Technical Symposium held early October 2023 in Montreal.

Among other key elements, RIPESS will co-lead with UNCTAD and others a #TechnicalWorkingGroup (TWG) on financing SSE that would examine ways to facilitate implementation of operational paragraph 3 (OP3) of the resolution which “Encourages multilateral, international and regional financial institutions and development banks to support the social and solidarity economy, including through existing and new financial instruments and mechanisms adapted to all stages of development.” A Working Paper by RIPESS entitled “Elements for a Social and Solidarity Economy Financing (ESSF) Ecosystem” is identified as a key resource to kick-start the work of the TWG. The central message of this paper is that: “in order to implement OP3 of the UNGA Resolution is the need to combine: (a) the UNTFSSE’s accumulated knowledge of existing and new SSE-friendly financial instruments and mechanisms adapted to all stages of development and territorial contexts; with (b) a generic approach to build and strengthen Intermediary SSE financial structures that can pool funds from a variety of sources (including international financial development institutions listed in OP3), which are embedded within broader territorial SSE ecosystems of complementary supporting actors, to irrigate funds to SSE entities in the most optimal way to realize the SDGs from the local level upwards.”

It was agreed at the meeting that further inputs to the draft strategic action plan can be provided by 12 January 2023. Information was provided about France and Spain providing some short-term financial support for the UNTFSSE.

RIPESS will continue giving our best work to this important agency as well as updating on the advances.