Social Solidarity and South-South Cooperation: A compilation of short South-South Cooperation articles for the “Academy of Social Solidarity Economy: Social Innovation in the World of Work” (Johannesburg, 2015)

International Labour Organisation - ILO

Edited by Anita Amorim, Andrew Dale, Charbel Fakhri-Kairouz, July 2015

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Summary :

The Director General of the ILO higlighted that the concept of “social and solidarity economy” has been recognized on various key occasions by the ILO.

In 2008, the unanimously adopted Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization recognized a strong social economy as critical to sustainable economic development and employment opportunities, along with productive, profitable and sustainable enterprises and a viable public sector. Five years earlier, the ILO Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, No. 193, stipulated that: “A balanced society necessitates the existence of strong public and private sectors, as well as a strong cooperative, mutual (…) social and non-governmental sector.”

Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) aims at being a model of market exchange among people-centered organizations. This objective allows this type of Economy to be a privileged “locus” for advancing the Decent Work Agenda.

Such organizations seek, on the one hand, resources to guarantee their financial viability, and, on the other one, concrete results to promote sustainable development initiatives. It is important to note that the concept of sustainable development that guides the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is based upon three pillars: social, economic and environmental. In this context, Social and Solidarity Economy paves the way to a more just process of globalization.

Innovation in Social and Solidarity Economy means adapting practices to the local possibilities and constraints in different parts of the world. This reflects an aggregate value component of the SSE model: legitimacy. SSE is work a in progress that depends on the contributions of actors directly involved with it: especially employers and workers.

The innovation component of Social and Solidarity Economy brings it closer to the concept of South-South and triangular cooperation. The idea behind South-South cooperation is that it allows countries to interact at a horizontal level, promoting solutions that are the outcome of an exchange of skills, resources and technical expertise, while promoting solidarity. The South-South cooperation model is complementary to the North-South dimension, in a dynamic that aims at promoting equality among peoples and democracy among states. Such dynamic can expand the impact of Solidarity Economy in national contexts by building regional and inter-regional networks of knowledge and sharing of experiences. Furthermore, the interaction between the SSE and South-South triangular cooperation is an opportunity to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

From an ILO perspective, SSE is both an opportunity to build up cooperation in a South-South triangular context and a means to propagate the Decent Work Agenda.

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