This symposium of the United nations Research Institute for Social Development seeks to: (i) understand the conditions and contexts that enable social and solidarity economy (SSE) to expand; and (ii) assess the implications of such processes and interactions with external actors and institutions for realizing the potential of SSE as a distinctive approach to development.

What sort of enabling environment is needed for SSE realize its potential and sustain itself over the long term? As organizations and networks expand, does SSE conform or deviate from core principles and objectives? How can constraints and contradictions be addressed? From a policy perspective, the inquiry aims to give more visibility to SSE in United Nations policy debates and bring to the attention of policy makers key findings and recommendations from researchers around the world on the potential and limits of SSE, its role in addressing contemporary development challenges, and its place in a post-2015 development agenda. The UNRISD inquiry will be undertaken in close collaboration with a number of other United Nations organizations.