Social and Solidarity Economy: Building a Common Understanding : The reader 2010 (ILO Academy)


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Summary :

The aim of the first chapter is to build a common understanding of the concept of the SSE. The chapter begins by mapping the SSE through its most common types of enterprises and organizations. It then describes the common features of social and solidarity organizations, demonstrating the coherence of the SSE concept while emphasizing the diverse forms in which the concept can be manifested. The chapter also gives an overview of some related concepts and approaches used in the SSE.

The second chapter deals with governance and management issues of social and solidarity economy enterprises and organizations (SSEOs). Indeed, a common feature of SSEOs is that their governance and operations are influenced by collective ownership and participatory principles. The chapter also provides insights on the strengths and weaknesses in managing SSEOs and the opportunities for improving their efficiency. Several management and governance tools are described in the context of the daily reality of SSEOs.

The development of the SSE often requires public policies to recognize the particularities and added value of the SSE in economic, social and societal terms (e.g. forms of governance, outreach of vulnerable groups). Chapter 3 presents some public policies created to support the development of the SSE at the international, national and local levels. The chapter also describes best practices in the elaboration of public policies.

The SSE cannot be developed or sustained by isolated organizations and enterprises. Chapter 4 addresses networking and partnerships, which are key factors in building a strong, recognized and visible SSE. SSEOs need to root themselves in community, mobilize various stakeholders and build strong alliances with social partners and public authorities. SSEOs also need to network among themselves at the local, national and international levels. Through their federations and networks, they enhance their representation and collaboration capacities.

Worldwide, our societies are facing huge social and economic challenges. At the international level, several international development frameworks have been elaborated to address these problems. Chapter 5 examines how SSEOs are contributing to one of these international development frameworks, i.e. the ILO Decent Work Agenda. It reviews the four objectives and pillars of the Decent Work Agenda (i.e. labour standards and rights at work, job creation, social protection and social dialogue), and describes and suggests fields of action for SSEOs.