By Judith Hitchman, Ripess Intercontinental board
RIPESS participated in the RIO+20 meeting in 2012 when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process was launched. From 2012 to 2015, we advocated for the inclusion of Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the SDGs by showing how SSE can provide an inclusive way forward towards their implementation. The SDGs themselves, adopted in September 2015, are not based on SSE; far from it. In many cases, the wording of the sub-paragraphs merely reflects a “greening” of the current neoliberal paradigm. Be this as it may, they can be considered as an opportunity for systemic change. The current multiple crises (health, economic, financial, environmental, climate, housing…) are all interrelated, as are the SDGs. And the multiple examples of the excellent work done by SSE entities around the world to address them need far greater recognition. These examples now need to be elevated and SSE policy mainstreamed at all levels.
The United Nations Inter-Agency Taskforce on SSE (UNTFSSE) was created in 2013; and from then onwards, we extensively collaborated with and participated in elaborating publications and policies for the inclusion of SSE in the SDGs.
The 2014 Position paper on Social and Solidarity Economy and the Challenges of Sustainable Development as well as the 2016 statement Realizing the 2030 Agenda through Social and Solidarity Economy both clearly identify the potential of SSE within 69 out of 169 targets of the 17 SDGs.
There is often greater recognition of the strengths of SSE at local level. This is quite understandable, as this is the level at which grassroots social movements such as RIPESS members, address these multiple issues. Local governments also often support SSE more at this level than at national or regional levels, as they clearly see the benefits and the way in which SSE helps to overcome the multiple challenges people are now facing.
Yet this is not enough. A growing number of states now have framework legislation. This still needs to be further strengthened. And the process of Voluntary National Reviews during the annual High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs that takes place every July in New York now needs to include SSE to show the path forward.
We have collectively already come a long way since Rio+20. But the challenges have also increased. So too has the growing global awareness of SSE and how it can help us to meet these challenges. The global crises are also an opportunity for real and profound change.
This document helps to highlight some of the many examples that exist around the world. We hope you find it inspirational, and that you will join us in our collective work to move towards a world of greater social, environmental, and economic justice, where all human rights are respected and implemented through the deep paradigm change towards Social Solidarity Economy.