ICA stands for a robust enabling environment for the SSE

28 Aug 2020

In support of the proposed United Nations' resolution on the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), ICA has published a position paper, "Cooperatives as a key constitutent of the social and solidarity economy.[1]"


This position paper aims to advocate for an enabling environment for SSE actors and exercise joint advocacy towards the initiative regarding the UN resolution on SSE proposed by the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE (UNTFSSE). It will also facilitate the establishment and reinforcing partnerships with the other main global SSE actors.

Over the last decade, SSE has extended itself rapidly to several countries and regions in the field of legislation, policy, and state administration, and cooperatives have always been recognized as one of the core SSE actors. For this reason, ICA participates actively in the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE (UNTFSSE) as an observer representing the cooperative movement (the UN officially incorporated the SSE concept by creating the UNTFSSE in 2013, with 17 UN agencies and observers.

In line with the ICA 2020-2030 Strategic Plan, the position paper states ICA is committed to promoting SSE at the international level and within the UN system, and establishing strong partnerships with other global SSE organizations. The SSE needs to be recognized not only for its undeniable social contributions, particularly in regard to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, but also for its distinctive standard features which are their real source of social innovation and, transformative power in the world, particularly in the face of the unprecedented global crises we are living. ICA recognizes the significant contribution of SSE towards inclusive and sustainable development to positively impact people and the planet.

The common features of SSE organisations and enterprises include voluntary and open membership; democratic governance; autonomous management; entrepreneurial nature; reinvestments of surpluses to carry out sustainable development objectives and services of interest to their members and the society. The cooperative movement strongly upholds these standard SSE features, which are not reduced solely to the social impact which all types of enterprises and organisations can produce. ICA supports the definition of SSE used by the UNTFSSE while noting that it should be inclusive of all actors based on the features mentioned above and that cooperatives should always be explicitly mentioned as being part of SSE.


[1] The SSE is a concept referring to organisations, in particular cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations, foundations, and social enterprises, which produce goods, services, and knowledge while pursuing economic and social objectives and promoting solidarity.