Letter. Social and Solidarity Economy must be a key component of the New Agenda


We, Social and
Solidarity Economy networks, Intercontinental Network for the promotion of
Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS), Mont-Blanc Meetings/International Forum of
Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs (RMB/FIDESS) and International
Association of Investors in the Social Economy (INAISE), the World Fund for
Development of Cities (FMDV), Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) and Habitat
International Coalition (HIC), are deeply convinced that Social and Solidarity
Economy (SSE) must be a key component of the New Urban Agenda.

We believe that
growing movement of SSE both in developing countries and developed countries
share the vision of the New Urban Agenda and have proved that they effectively
contribute to transformative changes of our cities and urban economies by
providing equal and equitable employment to the most vulnerable sections of
urban populations, sharing resources and improving the participatory democracy
of cities through collective and people-centered decision-making processes that
the New Urban Agenda seek to implement. SSE has proved its commitment to “leave
no one behind” by achieving sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and
opportunities for all whenever it is effectively implemented through
multi-stakeholder partnerships and participatory governance. SSE should
therefore be considered as a strategic urban policy of the Implementation plan
for the New Urban Agenda
to achieve an effective implementation of Urban
Paradigm Shift.


1/ SSE is a way to
achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to which the New Urban Agenda refers
By creating an
action-oriented roadmap for implementation, the New Urban Agenda will drive the
achievement of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development

Concerning SDG
11- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and
The SSE approach is based on a triple bottom line approach:
economic, social and environmental. All activity in our societies is
interrelated. This approach can simultaneously resolve issues of economic
activities that provide both services and products, thus creating jobs and
decent income. It also tackles social issues, as SSE is both rights-based and
inclusive of all local inhabitants, irrespective of their origins. One of the
main externalities is therefore the creation of social cohesion and solidarity
at territorial level. SSE activities generally have a much lower environmental
footprint since the activities are territorial.

In the case of
short and direct chain local solidarity-based procurement and agroecological
food systems (such as Community Supported Agriculture) this also contributes
substantially to SDG 2: End hunger. Moreover, SSE also contributes to
the implementation of SDG 12-Ensure sustainable consumption and production
by relocalising much of the economy, inventing and implementing
low-carbon, sustainable solutions in terms of production and consumption. Both
are important factors in the mitigation of climate change; SSE therefore
substantially also contributes to SDG 13-Take urgent action to combat
climate change and its impacts.

Indeed, as exposed
by the United Nations Taskforce on Social and Solidarity Economy (TFSSE),
comprised of 19 UN Agencies and 5 Observers, in its Position Paper on SSE
and the Challenge of Sustainable Development
published in July 2014, SSE
represents a significant potential for human settlements
: iv)
Sustainable cities and human settlements / Social enterprises and
organizations possess features with considerable potential
for helping build sustainable cities. They can promote social and environmental
goals through, for example, proximity services (including healthcare, education
and training), promoting local culture, urban and peri-urban agriculture,
community renewal, fair trade, access to affordable accommodation, renewable
energy, waste management and recycling, low-carbon forms of production and
consumption, and broader livelihood security. Their rootedness in local knowledge
and their internal democratic structure offer some means of achieving
integrated forms of socially and politically sustainable urban development.

the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy has just
released a position paper Realizing the 2030 Agenda through Social and
Solidarity Economy.
The paper clearly identifies how SSE acts locally and
can have a positive impact: “As most SSE initiatives are rooted in the local
economy, SSE can play a major role supporting an inclusive and sustainable
local development. In the framework of localizing SDG implementation, SSE has
the potential to complement a broader Local Economic Development (LED) approach
by matching and enabling linkages between unmet needs for employment, income,
goods and services and the sustainable use and valorization of local assets and
resources, including those associated to the livelihoods’ endowment of
disadvantaged and marginalized groups”.
Pursuing the same path as the 2014
paper, the approach is reaffirmed: The UN Task Force strongly believes
that SSE should be recognized as an important means of implementation of the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the Sustainable
Development Goals.

SSE has been included and recognized in the New Urban Agenda process

declarations of the consultative meetings in preparation of HABITAT III
Mexico and Barcelona- include SSE as an approach of great importance to meet
many of the challenges facing urban areas.
The Barcelona declaration
proposes to “promote the mainstreaming of social and solidarity economy in
all sectors as an inclusive, viable human-rights based economic alternative and
key lever for the future of cities
”. HABITAT lll, as a United Nations
process, is human rights-based and focused. SSE is fully inclusive and
implements human rights, especially the economic, social and cultural rights
that are indivisible. It is therefore important to recognise it fully as a
natural part of the Hlll process.

Global Taskforce recommendations on the zero draft of the New Urban Agenda
during the Local Authorities Hearings, New York, May 2016, adopted the
following recommendation: “6. Recognize Social and Solidarity Economy and
(SSEF): historically, the social and solidarity economy and finance
constitute a source of resilience to the recurrent systemic crises; they are
conducive to partnerships that will bring about transformational changes in
urban development patterns. The creation of enabling environments (especially
in terms of regulations and knowledge sharing) should be included in the New
Urban Agenda.”

The valuable contribution of SSE activities has been recognized by local
governments who have adopted policies and programs to promote SSE

on the planet, partnerships between Local Authorities and local actors have
been developed in recent years, with increasingly prominent networks around the
world all making significant contributions, such as the European Network of
Cities and Regions for the Social Economy (REVES), the Network of Local
Authorities for solidarity economy (RTES) Network of Municipalities for the
Social Economy in Catalonia. 40 municipalities in Brazil also have specific
legislation that includes SSE. Montreal has a partnership with social economy
organisations to support the sector. Seoul has set up multidimensional support
system by proposing legal, financial, institutional and technical assistance
including creating an intermediary support networks and institutions to build
stakeholders’ capacities and ensure better access both to private and public
markets, as well as the creation of six Social Economy Special Zones to create
an eco-system to foster social economy. Quezon City in the Philippines has a
department for cooperative development. It is indeed at local level that the
many issues of the New Urban Agenda should and must be addressed, so the role
of Local Authorities is indeed crucial to the process.


that HABITAT lll, as United Nations process, is human rights-based and focused.
Considering that SSE is fully inclusive and echoes and implements human rights,
especially the economic, social and cultural rights that are indivisible, it is
therefore important to recognise it fully as a natural part of the HABITAT III

that SSE «relocalises» the economy, thus creating sustainable solutions in
terms of production and consumption (SDG 12) that are an important factor in
the mitigation of climate change (SDG 13) and ending hunger (SDG 2).

that partnerships on macro, meso and micro levels with the SSE support
production and participatory governance of cities in all areas (social and
economic integration, housing, education, health, sports, energy, common
spaces, etc.).

we believe in a plural economy where SSE, private sector and public sector get
along and collaborate with each other. Considering that SSE manages services of
general interest that meet the needs of local residents placing the community
above profit.

that SSE activities and practices in the following fields already exist in many
urban areas and have great potential for meeting the challenges of urban areas:

Food. Local food production and
distribution, urban gardening, integrated territorial food systems and local
food policy councils

– Community management of Commons such as water

– Community health management

Housing – Cooperative housing,
Community Land Trusts…

– Popular education

Services – Day care of children, care
for the elderly

Culture – Theater and arts groups,
cultural organisations, festivals

– Alternative and ethical finance and local

Alternative media and press –
community radio, alternative press …

Sustainable local job creation

– Renewable energies

Citizens participatory engagement in
local governance

Local solidarity-based public

that SSE generates employment rooted in territories and thus enables
sustainable local development, domestic resource mobilization and many other
positive externalities.

that SSE is enabling for all three transformation commitments in the New
Urban Agenda: leave no one behind and fight against poverty; urban prosperity
and opportunities for all; and ecological and resilient cities and human

propose the following addition to the New Urban Agenda

the end of paragraph 22

that spatial organization, patterns and design of urban space together with
development policies can promote or hinder social cohesion, equity, and
inclusion, as well as the reduction of poverty and hunger. The New Urban Agenda
promotes people-centred urban development and the realization of human rights
of all, facilitating living together, combating discrimination in all its
forms, and empowering all individuals and communities, while enabling their
full and meaningful participation. Social and Solidarity Economy has an
important potential for a people-centered urban development.

the end of paragraph 47

commit to developing vibrant, inclusive and sustainable urban economies,
building on local resources and competitive advantages, including modern
infrastructure and cultural heritage, with increased levels of productive
employment and decent work. In this regard, support to innovative and
sustainable solutions will be provided in order to trigger the potential for a
high degree of connectivity and consequent intense economic and social
interaction between a larger and diverse range of people, skills, business and
market opportunities, all of which contribute to the positive externalities
that cities can create, maximizing economies of agglomeration. Scaling up
existing Social and Solidarity Economy activities and practices has the
potential to meet these challenges, in particular in creating decent jobs,
social innovation and mobilising citizens to build local solutions to local

the end of paragraph 68

New Urban Agenda aims to achieve ecologically sustainable cities and human
settlements, strengthening resilience in urban areas with varying
characteristics and locations, while changing the root causes of prevailing
perception of cities as a significant source of negative ecological impacts to
a source of solutions to sustainability issues. The Agenda reiterates the
ecological and social function of land and promotes a change in the consumption
and production patterns, ensuring that they will not exceed the ecosystem’s
regenerative capacity. Social and Solidarity Economy activities already
represent approximately 8-10% of GDP in cities, and are at the heart of
ecologically sustainable activities such as territorial food systems based on
small-scale agroecological food production, local production of goods and
services, renewable energies, recycling and reuse

Contact persons

Anne-France Piteau



Yvon Poirier