Thematic session @ 2019 National Forum for SSE & Social Innovation in France

6 Nov 2019 to 8 Nov 2019
Category of project: 

From 6 to 8 November 2019, the City of Niort hosted the 5th edition of the National Forum for the Social and Solidarity Economy & Social Innovation. Over 3 days, numerous workshops, training sessions, roundtables, and networking opportunities were held in parallel to exchange and discuss how the social and solidarity economy (SSE) and social innovation are useful tools for territories to respond to the major challenges facing today's societies.
Over 1500 people attended the Forum, including elected officials and staff from local governments involved in the field of SSE, civil society actors, as well as 200 students. The closing press release of the event is available in the download section of this page and the photo gallery and videos (in French only) can be accessed here and here.

Digital transition, territorial cooperation, ecological and energy transition, culture... Here are some of the 13 thematic paths around which the program of this Forum was co-constructed in collaboration with 34 partner organizations. As part of the thematic path 'International cooperation & Europe', a session took place on the theme of international cooperation. Laurence Kwark, Secretary General of GSEF, presented an overview of the SSE around the world and shared the latest developments and good practices worldwide in this area.  She was joined on this journey by Pascal Duforestel, Regional Councillor for Social and Solidarity Economy, Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine; Rachid Abibi, Director of Lab'ESS (Tunisia); Hamado Simporé, Réseau Zoodo Action & Solidarité - RéZAS (Burkina Faso); and, Mounia Benalil, Advisor for Development and Strategic Initiatives, PROMIS (Québec). This was followed by a workshop conducted by our member the French National Network of Local Authorities for a Solidarity Economy (RTES) and SOCoopération focused on the added value of international cooperation activities for both territories and SSE actors.

Laurence Kwark also joined the closing plenary session of the Forum on the theme “SSE: the norm of tomorrow’s world economy?” with other inspiring speakers including Charlotte Debray, General Delegate of La Fonda ; Hager Khemazi, Director, CRESS Hauts-de-France (Regional Chamber for Social and Solidarity Economy Hauts-de-France); Arnaud Breuil, Head of Engagement & Ecosystem, Up Coop; and Patrick Klein, Head of Sector Social Economy, European Commission.

Laurence Kwark highlighted the necessity to gather more assessment data to convince national and local governments of the critical role SSE ought to play in strategies developed to achieve #SDGs (in particular through their localization), and to support the belief that SSE can become the norm of tomorrow’s local economies (if not the world’s economy). She briefly presented the conclusions of the report Social and Solidarity Economy for the Sustainable Development Goals: Spotlight on the Social Economy in Seoul published by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in collaboration with GSEF, one of the first of such initiatives. In particular, research has shown that SSE is better positioned to create synergies between SDGs.

Lastly, Laurence Kwark stressed the urgency and importance for SSE to play its part in structuring actors who, in their large majority, operate in the informal sector in regions of the world such as Africa. Only then will we be able to witness an inclusive economic development of those regions. This is a major global challenge and SDGs constitute, indeed, a critical tool through which the SSE sector worldwide can mobilize and convince decision-makers – especially at the global level – of the potential and role of the SSE in responding to sustainable development challenges.

In the margins of the Forum, a delegation from the City of Hwaseong also had the opportunity to visit venues implementing innovative practices in the field of SSE, such as Le Relais Gironde and Fabrique Polka, and to meet the teams in charge of SSE within the department of Gironde and Bordeaux Métropole.

For more information, please visit the Forum website.