GSEF 2016 Declaration in Montreal



Around the world, we
are witnessing increased income inequality, a polarization of societies,
persistent or increasing social exclusion and an inability to meet environmental
challenges. Added to this is an important political challenge: managing urban
growth by ensuring a decent quality of life, access to basic needs (housing,
water, sanitation, energy, transportation, security, etc.) and an environment
that enables individual and collective empowerment.

to the Social and Solidarity Economy

We, the 1500 people
from 330 cities in 62 countries, participants at the 2016 Global Social Economy
Forum -GSEF2016 in Montreal, strongly reaffirm that more intelligent, equitable
and sustainable cities are possible and that an economic development model that
places people at the center of economic, social and political activity exists.
We call this the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

The SSE seeks to
integrate economic efficiency, social inclusion, sustainable development and
increased participation in the functioning of the economy and urban
development. Cooperatives, community-based businesses, social enterprises,
credit unions and mutual insurance, social finance and non-profit institutions
together constitute the SSE. The philanthropic sector as well as social
investors also contribute to its development. In short, the SSE encompasses all
those who do not put increased profit as the main or sole purpose of economic
activity. In order to progress, the SSE must assume its full place alongside
the private and public sector.

The SSE is essential
for all societies and questions our current development model. It gives hope to
vulnerable individuals and groups who are unable to find decent work, and lack
access to housing or adequate services that conform to the minimum standards of
living. The SSE supports a development model that protects the environment
through collective ownership of natural resources and through sustainable forms
of production. The SSE is also the foundation for revitalizing participatory
democracy through collective action at the heart of economic and social
activity. Democratic processes and collective decision making inherent in the
SSE are essential to meet our challenges.

the State there are cities, local authorities and collective action

These challenges
facing humanity cannot be solved by one country alone. The contributions of
municipalities, towns and local authorities are also essential, all the more so
because governments and regional authorities are closest to its inhabitants and
help promote a vibrant democracy and recognize the right to the city.

Facing these
challenges also requires governance that requires the active participation of
all stakeholders, supported by researchers, to reinforce the expertise and
capacity of local governments to better serve the needs and aspirations of
communities. We share the conviction that the SSE contributes to the
elaboration of a new development model by changing our ways of thinking and

Moreover, we reaffirm
our commitment to international solidarity in facing these challenges through
the dissemination of information, the exchange of best practices and through
mutual support which can include financial support. This solidarity manifests
itself through public action for a more equitable world, and the establishment
of enabling international agenda for the future.

We thus reaffirm our
commitment to cooperate with GSEF in order to promote the significant
contribution of the SSE to meeting current challenges, including the
implementation of the United Nations 2030 and the New Urban Agenda of Habitat
III, that strive to achieve a quality of life in cities reflecting the
aspirations of their inhabitants.


Building on the
strength of the 2013 Seoul Declaration, we commit to work for the development
of our cities in order to:

1. Recognize the
central role of SSE organizations to overcome the current challenges and to
promote a renewed participatory democracy

2. Multiply
participatory governance spaces

3. Build an inclusive
movement for all men and women of all ages and origins.

4. Build
public-private-community partnerships to meet the needs and aspirations of our

5. Share our visions,
experiences and achievements to promote social innovation, including through
CITIES, a strategic partner of GSEF

6. Recognize and
support youth as important actors for the future of the SSE movement.

Click here
to download the declaration.