GSEF collaborates with internationally renowned researchers and research institutes to scale and evaluate SSE activities in the members’ territories and publishes policy papers on their potential and impacts. The GSEF policy review series intends to introduce different social economy development strategies of GSEF member cities such as Seoul, Quebec, and Basque Country to provide a broad policy reference in order to formulate a strategy for utilising the SSE for sustainable urban development. Since 2016, GSEF has released a series of policy guidebooks to map out social economy development status in Korea (Seoul), Peru (nationwide) and Cape Verde (Praia). A broader range of regions in different continents that have particular relevance and implications will be covered in the coming publications.  


  • Promoting SSE through Public Policies: Guidelines for Local Governments 17 Dec 2020

    Based on case studies of seven cities which have developed policies, programmes and institutions for the social and solidarity economy, the project identifies the key elements and good practices of such “SSE ecosystems”, and, on that basis, proposes guidelines that policy makers can use in their own cities to design, implement and assess public policies and institutional frameworks that support SSE organizations and enterprises. This project was carried out by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), with support and funding from GSEF.   The research issue in context As awareness about the role of SSE in facilitating inclusive and sustainable development grows, an increasing number of governments, both at national and subnational levels, are adopting policies and programmes that aim to support different types of SSE organizations and enterprises. Many local governments are particularly interested in supporting the SSE in a context of growing demand for local-level public services and declining fiscal transfers from central governments. SSE is also gaining the interest of local policy makers thanks to its alignment with the holistic approach of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that requires integration of social, environmental and economic dimensions for implementation. While the public policy environment plays a crucial role in setting the meso- and macro-level conditions under which SSE organizations and enterprises develop and operate, there are often difficulties associated with designing and implementing effective policy frameworks. SSE values and objectives may be misrepresented or circumscribed in policy; and features of SSE can be neglected or undermined when states get too heavily involved. Clear, objective analysis, based on empirical evidence, of the characteristics of policies, programmes and institutional frameworks that are the most likely to deliver appropriate and effective results for the SSE sector would help policy decision makers, practitioners and SSE actors navigate these tensions in their local contexts, improving the prospects for inclusive and sustainable development outcomes.   Research Objectives and Methods This project aims to generate a broader and deeper understanding of the policy and institutional frameworks that foster the development of robust SSE ecosystems at the subnational level, and, through the analysis of original empirical evidence from case studies of seven cities (Barcelona, Dakar, Durban, Liverpool, Mexico City, Montreal, and Seoul), propose guidelines that policy and decision makers can use to design and implement public policies that support SSE entities and organizations.   Research Beneficiaries The guidelines will help policy and decision makers achieve an objective, comprehensive mapping of the current public policy and institutional landscape that impacts the SSE, and map out future directions for its balanced and integrated development. The findings are valuable to policy makers and their advisors at all levels —and at the subnational/local level in particular— tasked with the implementation of a social and solidarity economy or local sustainable development portfolio. They are also of value to civil society and advocacy groups, practitioners and SSE actors aiming to ensure social justice and/or social and solidarity-based economic practices. Lastly, they are also of interest for the research community in advancing their understanding of these issues.   Outputs and Activities Seven case studies BARCELONA: Public Policies Fostering the Social and Solidarity Economy in Barcelona (2016-2019) by Rafael Chaves-Avila, Jordi Via-Llop and Jordi Garcia-Jané DAKAR: Public Policies for Social and Solidarity Economy: The Experience of the City of Dakar by Aminata Diop Samb and Malick Diop DURBAN: Creating an Enabling Environment for the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) through Public Policies in Durban, South Africa by Susan Steinman LIVERPOOL: Public Policy and Devolved Governance: Facilitating the Social and Solidarity Economy in the Liverpool City Region by Helen Heap, Alan Southern and Matt Thompson MEXICO CITY: Policies to promote the Social and Solidarity Economy: Case study of Mexico City by Juan José Rojas Herrera and Roberto Cañedo Villarreal  MONTREAL: Public Policies Enabling the Social and Solidarity Economy in the City of Montreal by Marguerite Mendell, Nancy Neamtan and Hyuna Yi SEOUL: Policy Systems and Measures for the Social Economy in Seoul by Kil-Soon Yoon and Dr. Sang-Youn ("Youn") Lee Guidelines for subnational policy and decision makers Guidelines for Local Governments on Policies for Social and Solidarity Economy The guidelines were launched on the occasion of a Special Session at the GSEF Global Virtual Forum (19-23 October 2020). For more information, please consult UNRISD's website.
  • Case of Praia 4 Sep 2020

    Title: The Reality and Perspectives of the Social and Solidarity Economy in the City of Praia Year: 2018 Author: CITI-Habitat Publisher: GSEF Summary  The Municipality of Praia, since the institutionalization of Democratic Local Power in Cape Verde on December 15, 1991, no policy to promote and develop the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) has been implemented. Consequently, there has been no specialized service on the matter or a database on the existence of formally constituted organizations of Social and Solidarity Economy, nor the dynamics and impact of its interventions in improving conditions of the poorest populations and in the overall development of the Municipality have been much acknowledged. However, partnerships and relationships have been established, mainly with associations and NGOs, in the implementation of community projects and investments and social support activities in the areas of social housing, pre-school education, health education, drinking water supply, basic sanitation, sport and culture. It also works in collaboration with NGOs and associations dealing with care for the elderly, at-risk children, the homeless and people with disabilities. There has been no financing for income-generating activities carried out by Social and Solidarity Economy organizations. The present study establishes a basis to help the Municipality of Praia to adopt a municipal policy for the promotion and development of the Social and Solidarity Economy, as well the study will contribute to the structuring of the informal economy, strongly developed in the City of Praia. Therefore, the recommendations and conclusions of this study constitute priority axes for the formulation of a Program for the Promotion and Development of the Social and Solidarity Economy in the City of Praia: 1: Strengthening of the capacity and improvement of the institutional framework of the Municipality of Praia in the promotion of SSE. o Training/capacity building of municipal technicians in the areas of SSE and local economic development, with regards to creating institutional capacity, with internal autonomy in the formulation of proposals and measures of policies for the promotion and development of SSE in the Municipality of Praia; o Creation of an organizational unit with specific responsibilities for the promotion and development of SSE with the capacity to mobilize resources from the municipal budget, as well as to implement the resources provided from the municipal budget for the SSE sector; o Creation of a Specialized Commission of SSE in the Municipal Assembly of Praia and adoption of a Municipal Charter of promotion and development of SSE in the Municipality; o Creation of a Municipal Consultation Council for the promotion of SSE, which would also serve as an SSE Local Observatory. In addition to reflecting and recommending specific policy measures, the council would function as an advisory body of the Praia Municipal Chamber with regards to the SSE sector, as well as it would serve as a space of articulation and consultation between various actors involved in the local economic development of the Praia Municipality; o A strong and systematic articulation in public policies for the development of municipal social economy networks, with the objective of integrating SSE into macro-social and economic policies, since the social economy is seen by the Government as a "form of economic organization and a form of producing services which has a decisive role in the expansion of employment, equal opportunities and the promotion of social, environmental and historical assets that support local and regional development. o Adoption of a Municipal Plan for the Promotion and Development of SSE 2016/2020 with its annual action plans, incorporating measures of governmental policies in the areas of social care and inclusion, strengthening and capacity building of CSOs, vocational training and youth entrepreneurship, national gender plan, broadening access to microfinance services, in coordination with the Ministry of Family and Inclusion, Employment and Professional Training Institute, PROEMPRESA – Business Support and Promotion Institute, Ministry of Finance, Institute Gender Equality, Platform of NGOs, Professional Association of Microfinance Institutions and partners of decentralized, Bilateral and Multilateral International Cooperation. 2: Ecosystem for financing the projects and entrepreneurship in SSE o Design and implementation of a financing ecosystem, with the resources from the Municipality of Praia, State/Central Administration, Microfinance Institutions, social solidarity finance, subsidies from bilateral and multilateral cooperation, NGOs and decentralized international cooperation. Particular attention should be given to the refinancing of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) for the promotion of entrepreneurship in the form of social economy organizations. o Coordination with entrepreneurship promotion programs, vocational training for employment and other initiatives to promote employment, with emphasis on young women and female-headed households. 9 o Functional decentralization of the actions of the Municipality in the social sphere for solidarity organizations, by contracting services - outsourcing - as one of the ways to strengthen and broaden capacity to respond to the demands of more vulnerable and at-risk social groups and at the same time to promote proximity social employment and the channeling of resources to social solidarity organizations. 3: Tax Incentives and Other Facilities o Taking into account that the activities of Social and Solidarity Economy entities do not aim at the profitability of invested capital, but rather at the reinvestment in the continuity of their mission, which is why the distribution of surpluses is limited in cooperatives and prohibited in mutual societies and non-profit associations. Considering that the social patrimony of these organizations are indivisible and in case of dissolution it will be under the protection of the Municipality until associative initiatives are of the same nature and objective, it is recommended to exempt the payment of the Unique Tax on the "IUP" of the license fees for the construction of social equipment and its own headquarters, fees for the licensing of economic activities, requesting in return the provision of social services within the framework of municipal programs of a social and educational nature. o In the framework of urban planning, through Detailed Urban Plans, it is recommended the creation and transfer of lands for the installation of local productive activities, within the framework of a municipal policy of structuring the informal economy through organizations and enterprises of Social and Solidarity Economy. The lands ceded would continue to be properties of the Municipality, and the facilities to support the productive activity should always be of collective use and management. o Promotion, in coordination with the IEFP - Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, PROEMPRESA - Business Support and Promotion Institute and specialized SEE organizations, programs to promote entrepreneurship, vocational training activities, technical assistance to management and support in market access. 4: Gender dimension and empowerment of women through SSE o Implementation of a specific program to assist the economic emancipation of women through Social and Solidarity Economy organizations, as well as to support the structuring of informal economy by women, working upstream (access to financing and acquisition of factors of production), in the production process of goods and services (joint use of warehouse and storage spaces) and downstream (distribution and market orientation); o Implementation of a program to train and empower women to make themselves more participatory in the life of the organizations of which they are part and to assume the management functions of the SSE organizations. o Implementation of municipal policies in terms of the creation of social facilities (kindergartens, preschool and support for children in school activities) in order to allow women, especially heads of households, to focus on their economic activities - as source of support and education of the children, 10 as well as of municipal policies more favorable for initiation and maintenance of self-managed economic activities. 5: Strengthening and capacity building of technical and institutional abilities for Social and Solidarity Economy organizations, based in the Municipality of Praia. o Conduct a training activity in coordination with the NGO Platform of Cape Verde of in the areas of governance of SSE organizations; project design, local economic development, solidarity social finance, information technology and education for development, applied associative law, assisted social care, etc., with a view to a growing professionalization of SSE organizations; o Implementation of technical assistance and management support activities through mobilization of endogenous capacities of SSE organizations as well as mobilization of specialized external partners; o Creation of an SSE Municipal Forum, as an autonomous organization, composed of all the organizations, besides deciding priorities of SSE development in the Praia Council in various aspects. The Forum would function as a consultative body and partner of the City Municipality of Praia in the definition and implementation of policies in relation to the SSE and a space of agreement among the associated local actors; o Creation and promotion of a network economy, based on value chains, in order to structure the SSE and the institutionalization of the Seal of the SSE products of Praia, valuing local resources, recyclable waste, creativity, fair trade, sustainable consumption and the sustainable use of environmental resources; o Implementation of partner education programs and financial education in order to contribute to organizational and management sustainability, as well as the perpetuation of SEE organizations as local development actors and agents of local and community economic and social transformation.
  • Case of Peru 18. Jan. 2019

    Title: Mapping of the Social and Solidarity Economy of Peru Year: June 2018 Author: Grupo Red de Economía Solidaria Perú (GRESP, member of RIPESS LAC)  Publisher: GSEF Language: English and Spanish    Summary  The Social and Solidarity Economy of Peru (SSE) organisations, of production, and consumption at the regions of Peru have developed significant micro local levels of articulation, yet not at the national level. The production is mainly for the local and regional market. Some larger SSE organisations allocate their production to the foreign market. SSE is not centralised and does not count with national representation yet. Through SSE projects, lives of thousands of people and families in poverty, social exclusion or in danger of returning to poverty have been guaranteed. The Commodores Populares (Popular Soup Kitchens) of Lima are examples of the contribution of women who participate in social struggles and provide food to their families and to social movements, which collectively guarantee the right to food. The 2013 data show that 150 thousand members manage 2,775 self-managed Popular Soup Kitchens and another 1,930 are subsidised with food by the State. The contribution of Social and Solidarity Economy organisations (Local Initiative Groups, GIES) in local spaces has helped to establish agreements with local authorities, municipalities and the population, becoming new actors of local development that generate employment, demand inputs, establish human relations, and generate channels of commercialisation and distribution. This form of creating synergies among local actors contributes to the social fabric in spaces where actors meet, not only at the economic level but also in daily life. The SSE helps to build the new man and woman, in a new locality, in a new region, in a new country, in harmony with nature. Where the "new" is what we are building in local spaces, is not something "imported", but something vital, born of personal and dynamic needs. It is a way to be creators and builders. The organisations of Social and Solidarity Economy of Peru do not count on the support of the state nor of the private sector. A Law of Social and Solidarity Economy as a framework for public policies that support and promote the development of the SSE is required. At the local level, it is necessary to promote roundtables, SSE platforms, as more effective forms of decisions and agreements, promoting synergies in the organisation of production, and responsible consumption. Also, the development of urbanisation economies and the density of the institutional fabric, in connection with SSE clusters, must be enforced. In order to strengthen the ROLE of SSE initiatives, it is necessary to promote capacities for project management and institutional development. The capacity of SSE organisations is critical for territorial development. The territory is not an "objectively existing" physical space, but a social construction, that is, a set of social relations that give rise to, and at the same time, express an identity and a sense of purpose, shared by multiple public and private agents. It is recommended the formation of a centre of Services and Supportive Solidarity, CESAS (for its acronym in Spanish), to make diagnoses, elaborate modules to be available to the organisations in the four macro-regions. This can be implemented through an itinerant program that approaches local areas, promoting the development of personal and institutional capacities. It is necessary that SSE organisations, NGOs and networks consider the need to build an SSE movement, that advocates, campaigns, create public awareness about the importance of SSE in local development and as a space for human relations. A Social Movement oriented toward another kind of economy. The challenge is for expressions of the Social Economy to become 4 part of a Social Movement which has a political project oriented to an integral and solidary human development, where actors are identified with the alternatives to the current neoliberal system that is excluding and unsustainable from every point of view. A suggested strategy for the strengthening of the Social and Solidarity Economy is the formation of a Solidarity Economy Movement (MES, for its acronym in Spanish) as a representative network of SSE organisations and networks in Peru. MES can bridge actors in the state, private companies, at a local, meso and macro level, promoting public policies favourable to the development of the Social and Solidarity Economy. Also, that in alliance with national actors strengths the Social and Solidarity Economy as an alternative of economic, social, political, cultural transformation, of defence of the environment, with ethical perspective, promoting the development of the country. 
  • Case of Seoul (UNRISD) 18. Jan. 2019

    Title: Social and Solidarity Economy for the Sustainable Development Goals 'SPOTLIGHT ON THE SOCIAL ECONOMY IN SEOUL' Year: Jul 2018 Publisher: UNRISD This project examines the social economy (SE) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and how it is contributing to implementing and, ultimately, achieving, the city’s “localized” SDGs. Characterized by a rapid development of proactive SE policies, dramatic growth of SE organizations and enterprises, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s strong commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the city’s experience offers a valuable opportunity to further enrich understanding of social and solidarity economy as a means of implementation of the SDGs. This is the first case study of a series of research projects on SSE and the SDGs which UNRISD is planning to undertake.    The Research Issue in Context The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the need to “achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions—economic, social and environmental—in a balanced and integrated manner” (UNGA, 2015, para 2). This implies that business-as-usual approaches are no longer an option if the “transformative vision” of the Agenda is to be realized and the interconnected challenges facing humanity are to be addressed. A more transformative, innovative and inclusive approach to development needs to be pursued instead.  In recent years attention has increasingly been turned towards the social and solidarity economy (SSE) and its approaches to sustainable development that incorporate social, economic and at times environmental objectives in an integrated and balanced manner. SSE has the capacity to address some of the structural underpinnings of vulnerability, exclusion and unsustainable development. Its integrated nature means it could potentially contribute to the realization of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs with their overarching principle, “leave no one behind”. This potential relationship between SSE and the SDGs has yet to be thoroughly explored. The available knowledge is largely based on either heuristic exercises matching areas of SSE intervention with specific SDGs, or conjecture about SSE's potential in particular cases. Often ignoring the underlying political economy, institutional and cultural factors—or, indeed, the enabling environment for SSE—such matching exercises and conjecture Research Objectives are policy makers and practitioners interested in how and to what extent SSE can contribute to the SDGs. The research on the social economy (SE) in Seoul and its contribution to implementing and, ultimately, achieving the localized SDGs offers a valuable opportunity to build the evidence base and enrich our understanding of SSE as a means of implementation for the SDGs.  This project aims to generate evidence and analysis that will enrich our understanding of the social economy in Seoul and its role in implementing the city’s localized SDGs. In doing so it will contribute to dialogues and strategies on SSE and the SDGs more broadly. Specifically, the proposed research will deepen the understanding of: characteristics of the SE in Seoul, such as: origins, capacity, competencies in the areas of productivity and demand-led growth, social capital, gender equality, working conditions, managerial and administrative practices, labour relations, democratic decision making, resilience and sustainability, and participation in policymaking; the interactions between the SE in Seoul and in other regions and cities in the Republic of Korea and elsewhere; the relationship of the SE with other spheres of the economy such as the public economy, the private sector, and the informal economy; public policies for the SE such as laws, policies, programmes, plans and public organizations; Seoul’s enabling institutional environment for the SE, in particular, Seoul Metropolitan Government’s capacity; policy coherence and multilevel governance; participation and institutionalization; and sustainability of government intervention; the distinctiveness of Seoul’s enabling institutional environment for the SE in comparison with selected reference cases around the world; the localized SDGs in Seoul; and the pathways by which the SE in Seoul can contribute to achieving the localized SDGs. Methodology and Approach The project adopts a mixed approach of qualitative and quantitative methods. It will include thematic studies, in-depth research on SE case studies in Seoul, cross-case comparative analysis, and SE policy initiatives.    Research Beneficiaries The findings of this project will be particularly valuable to policymakers and their advisors at the local, national and international levels tasked with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The findings and lessons will also be of value to civil society and advocacy groups or others aiming to promote social and solidarity-based economic practices. They will also be useful to the research community in advancing their understanding of the relationship between SSE and the SDGs.    Localizing the SDGs through Social and Solidarity Economy (Research and Policy Brief 24) The Social Economy in Seoul: Assessing the Economic, Social, Environmental and Political Impacts (Research and Policy Brief 25) The Social Economy and an Integrated Approach to the Localized SDGs in Seoul: Interrogating the Evidence (Research and Policy Brief 26)  
  • Status of Social Economy Development in Seoul  18. Jan. 2019

    Title: Status of Social Economy Development in Seoul  Year: 2016 Publisher: GSEF Author: Karl Polanyi Research Institute Asia (Yeon Ah Kim, Senior Researcher and Taein Jung, Head of Research Executives) GSEF's first SSE research project on modelling social economy developments of cities - a case study of Seoul, published in collaboration with Karl Polanyi Research Institute Asia (author) is available in English, Spanish and French versions. Summary  The Korean social economy has grown at a remarkable pace over the last few years, attracting attention from around the world. The number of social economy enterprises, of which there were a mere 501 as of the end of 2010, has multiplied exponentially since the enactment of the Framework Act on Cooperatives (FAC) in 2012, reaching 11,421 (including 1,506 certified social enterprises, 8,551 cooperatives, and 1,364 community enterprises) as of the end of 2015. In other words, the social economy in Korea, measured in terms of the number of actors and enterprises involved, has multiplied by over 22 times in less than five years since the Korean government began to provide policy support. If we counted nonprofit corporations and organizations that strive to realize social values through economic activities, such as rehabilitation enterprises, rural community companies, and other enterprises catering to the employment of severely disabled persons, the scope of the social economy would grow even wider. Seoul alone is home to 23.2 percent of all Korean social economy enterprises (260 certified social enterprises, 2,267 cooperatives, and 119 community enterprises, total 2,646 enterprises), leading the development and progress of the social economy nationwide. There may still be those who question the sustainability of this rapidly growing economy. Nevertheless, the Korean social economy, particularly in Seoul, is attracting increasing attention from the international community. This is because the explosive growth of the Seoul social economy is one of the rare examples in which a long tradition of civil solidarity has combined successfully with governmental policy support in a productive synergy. The social economy of Seoul provides an exemplary case of the multi-sectoral partnership, with the municipal government and local civil society working closely together throughout the entire process of social economy policy-making and implementation from policy review to budget preparations. Since the early days of adopting its social economy policy, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has emphasized the need to establish and consolidate a truly inclusive governance structure in which all types of social economy actors could participate. This focus has resulted in the formation of a thriving and expanding social economy ecosystem and infrastructure consisting of multiple public-private and private networks. However, the long-term success and stability of these public and private efforts remain to be seen. Although it has grown outwardly at an astonishing pace since the announcement of the Comprehensive Social Economy Support Plan of the SMG in 2012, the Seoul social economy still faces multiple and mounting challenges that continue to arouse controversy. Will this new Seoul experiment ultimately be sustainable? What issues has the process of compressed and rapid growth of the social economy caused us to neglect? How should we make use of our experiences over the past four years to design the future of the local social economy five or 10 years down the road? These are the questions that keep Seoul’s policymakers awake at night. This report summarizes and explains the findings of the Study on the Social Economy Policies of the 25 Self-Governing Boroughs of Seoul, which the Karl Polanyi Institute Asia (KPIA) implemented in the first half of 2016 upon request from the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF). The purpose of the study was to ascertain the current status of social economy policy practices of the SMG and the 25 self-governing boroughs making up the city, and to assess the environment and issues surrounding the social economy in each borough. The goal was to research and analyze how the social economy model conceived by the SMG has been implemented in each borough and to what extent the social economy of Seoul has progressed. This report also summarizes some of the major social economy policy initiatives in Seoul as well as a section of the results of an opinion poll. It would be a daunting task to provide a comprehensive and detailed evaluation and analysis of the entire social economy of Seoul. This study nonetheless provides a helpful overview of the main concerns and issues characterizing the Seoul social economy and related policy measures. Before we proceed to a detailed analysis, we need first to understand the basic structure and system of the social economy policy in Korea.