Article of ILO

The 341st Governing Body (GB) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) decided to place on the agenda of the 110th Session (2022) of the International Labour Conference (ILC) an item related to “Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) for a human-centred future of work” for general discussion.

It is an historic decision taken by the GB  of the ILO . In fact, it will be the first time that a general discussion on SSE  will be held at the ILC , which is an annual meeting of governments’, workers’ and employer’s delegates of the ILO member States in June.

This decision points to the growing attention from governments and social partners on alternative economic models, which put people, rather than profit, at the centre of their operations. It also presents an opportunity to shed light on the growing diversity of enterprise models that are based on values of cooperation, mutualism and solidarity and which combine social, economic and environmental objectives. A people-centred and planet sensitive approach to the economy is at the center of the social and solidarity economy. Therefore a general discussion on SSE at ILC 2022 is relevant for ILO constituents in tackling the challenges of the post-pandemic era and in order to build back better.

At the ILO, this discussion has its roots in a number of relevant ILO recommendations, especially Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 202 (No. 193) , Employment Relationship Recommendation, 2006 (No. 198) , Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204) .

In recent years, a number of recent International Labour Standards (ILS ), including the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work , have reflected on the importance of cooperatives and wider Social and Solidarity Economy in tackling the challenges of the Future of Work.

At the same time, this general discussion presents a unique opportunity, among others, to:

  • Provide a universal definition of the term “social and solidarity economy”, including its associated principles and values;
  • Assess the contribution of the SSE to managing and promoting the overall support for people through the transitions they face throughout their working lives; provide policy guidelines for member States wishing to establish a conducive environment for national development of SSE;
  • Equip the Office with guidance on how to engage in the promotion of the SSE worldwide, including through development cooperation; and
  • Encourage the Office to establish and maintain a wide range of partnerships with institutions, organizations and agencies representing the SSE, or involved in the promotion of the SSE.

The Office, led by the work of its Cooperatives Unit  and the Enterprises Department , will prepare a paper to inform this general discussion.