Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems from Euricse Network

Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems

Published on 24/07/2019by redazione

EURICSE appointed as observer in the UN Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy

A recognition of the Trentino research center’s international work

Euricse has been admitted as observer to the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (TFSSE) founded in Geneva in 2013 to raise the visibility of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) both within the United Nations and beyond. As observer, Euricse will actively participate in the Task Force’s debates, and will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the topics discussed. This recognition is even more significant in anticipation of the international workshop that Euricse is organizing in Trento in November on behalf of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on financial instruments for the social and solidarity economy.

Euricse was officially presented as observer in the UN Task Force today during a meeting in Geneva, in which Euricse’s General Secretary, Gianluca Salvatori, participated. Euricse has been admitted to the TFSSE in light of the center’s ongoing international work and frequent relationships with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and many other international agencies. Euricse has recently written two research reports for the ILO on social and solidarity economy, with a focus on future challenges in the world of work and innovative financial mechanisms for SSE development.

The meeting in Geneva on 23rd July

The TFSSE brings together UN agencies and other inter-governmental organizations, as well as umbrella associations of SSE networks as members and observers. Task Force activities include organizing events at UN and other international conferences, dialoguing with policy makers, preparing and disseminating publications through the newly created Knowledge Hub, and engaging in collaborative projects involving the TFSSE members and observers. The most recent achievement was the launch of the Knowledge Hub, a platform that gathers research on the potential of the SSE for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forward by the 2030 Agenda.

Euricse’s presence in the TFSSE is even more significant in anticipation of the international workshop that the research center is organizing in Trento from the 18th to 20th of November on behalf of the ILO, which will see the involvement of many international experts on financial tools for the SSE. During that same week, the Task Force will also gather in Trento.

“The relevance of the SSE is expanding beyond the niche in which it is usually confined and the UN is playing a lead role in this area. For this reason, Euricse wanted to closely follow the work of the UN agencies engaged in the development of the social economy and we are proud that our positions and contributions were deemed useful. As observer in the Task Force we will be able to broaden our international approach and discuss our activities with a group of prominent experts”

Euricse Secretary General, Gianluca Salvatori

“We are certain that Euricse, thanks to the center’s long and varied experience in Europe and beyond, will lend an important contribution to the initiatives the Task Force is undertaking to enhance the visibility and recognition of the Social and Solidarity Economy at the international level”

Vic van Vuuren, UNTFSSE chair
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Published on 27/06/2019by redazione

Euricse at 7th EMES International Research Conference

EURICSE researchers Giulia Galera and Stefania Chiomento, together with EURICSE president Carlo Borzaga, are participating in the 7th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise held from 24th June to 27th June in Sheffield (UK).

They contributed to one semi-plenary session chaired by professor Jacques Defourny entitled “Mapping of social enterprise and its ecosystem in Europe”, where they summarized the main findings of the European study funded by the DG Employment “Social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe”. Professor Nadja Johanishova, professor Bernard Enjolras and Risto Raivio, Senior Expert at the DG EMPL, European Commission, also contributed to the discussion by providing their own insights based on the critical transversal analysis of the Mapping Study Country Reports.

Giulia Galera speaking during the session on mapping

Add to this, Giulia Galera and Paolo Boccagni (University of Trento) organized a special session aimed at discussing the findings of recent research on innovative welcome and integration pathways – addressed to asylum seekers, protection holders, refugees and migrants – that have been designed by grass-root social enterprises in four selected EU countries: Italy, France, Germany and Spain.

As highlighted during the conference, these countries show significant variations when it comes to the role played by social enterprises in the asylum and migration domains. Key variations concern the organization of welfare service delivery; the national model of reception designed by national governments to welcome asylum seekers and the degree of centralization; what selection mechanisms are used to recruit private providers; whether there are any national schemes supporting employment and labour market access of asylum seekers.

Giulia Galera during the special session on migrants

“Despite country variations, there are some common challenges that are faced by social enterprises. These are mainly connected to the increase in number of volunteers that are willing to help recipients, to the recruitment and training of new staff, and to the types of interactions established by social enterprises with public authorities”.

Giulia Galera, senior researcher at Euricse

Discussion focused particularly on the role, potential and limitations faced by social enterprises on the one hand and on the policy strategies that could be put in place to fully harness the contribution of social enterprises in facing social transformations connected to the inclusion of newcomers in receiving communities, on the other hand.

Here the list of papers discussed during the session:

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Published on 10/06/2019by redazione

The potential of the Social and Solidarity economy to boost the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda

The global economy is experiencing significant economic, technological and demographic changes. Not only has the unemployment rate grown faster in the last decade, but also new “mini-jobs” related to the “gig-economy” are emerging, characterized by non-standard forms, low wages and great instability.

In this context, social and solidarity economy (SSE) organizations have demonstrated the ability to provide high quality and stable jobs, to expand into new sectors and to innovate in response to social needs. Indeed, they have shown significant growth during the phases of economic recession. This is particularly true in Italy where the number of workers employed by social economy and Third Sector organizations rose after the 2008 economic crisis. Italy has come to be considered a model in Europe, also considering the government policies that support social enterprises.

For these reasons, from 3 to 7 June 2019, Italy hosted the 10th edition of the Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy organized by ITC-ILO. Euricse was a partner of this edition along with the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, CIRIEC and Fondazione Italia Sociale. During the Academy, the participants discussed the contribution of SSE organizations to developing the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, focusing on the main characteristics of these organizations.

10th ILO Academy on SSE – First Session: Carlo Borzaga, President of EURICSE

In 2017 Euricse produced a paper on this topic. “Social and Solidarity Economy and the Future of Work”, commissioned by ILO, reviews the main theoretical arguments and empirical evidence on the features and role of SSE organizations. The publication – now available also in Italian– highlights the SSE’s capacity to create jobs in emerging sectors, for example in the silver economy, and analyzes how the growth and development of the SSE can be supported in the future of work.

Despite their diversity and heterogeneity, in fact, SSE organizations share some key features that set them apart from conventional enterprises. First, they often are bottom-up organizations that emerge within local communities as a response to shared needs or opportunities among groups of citizens. Second, they are characterized by a significant participation of volunteers, who often play an important role in the creation and start-up phase of the enterprise. Third, their activities are not primarily geared towards the creation of profits to be distributed to their owners; rather, they pursue the interests of their members and of the community. Fourth, their governance structures tend to be more inclusive and democratic, giving voice to different types of stakeholders within the decision-making process. But, not only: SSE organizations are less likely to de-localize production activities and are particularly able to create new employment in sectors like personal care. In this area, SSE organizations show a distinctive advantage to identify emerging needs, providing right and solid answers

Another issue that is central to the decent work debate is the gender gap in employment rates. SSE organizations are characterized by a strong presence of women: for instance, the share of female workers in social enterprises is 70% in Belgium and 67% in France. And SSE organizations help address gender gaps in employment not only by hiring women, but also indirectly by providing services that have a direct impact on women’s well-being and their ability to gain stable employment.

But, the full realization of the potential of SSE organizations to create new and decent jobs in the future will depend on their capacity to maintain or even strengthen their distinctive characteristics. So, it is essential to build a supportive eco-system, both at the national and at the international level, based on a synthesis between the SSE’s bottom-up dynamic and the top-down nature of public policy. As the evidence presented in the Euricse paper shows, and as confirmed by the Italian ITC-ILO Academy, the varied organizational forms that comprise the SSE are already playing an important role in addressing the challenges related to the job market and could play an even bigger role in the future. In this respect, the creation of a more supportive policy ecosystem will be instrumental in lending the SSE the support it needs in order to fulfil its potential and help improve the future of work.

All videos are available here.

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Published on 10/07/2018by redazione

“Financial mechanisms for Innovative Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems”, the new Research Project

At the end of a competitive bidding process, Euricse was awarded a contract by the ILO to conduct an international research project on “Financial mechanisms for innovative social and solidarity economy ecosystems”. Supported by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social and Solidarity Economy of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and promoted by the International Labour Organization (ILO), this project aims at fostering a better understanding of the financial mechanisms that support and consolidate the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). The project’s direct beneficiaries will be policy makers, social partners, development organizations who, through a better understanding of SSE ecosystems and the supporting financial mechanisms, will be better equipped to take advantage of this potential in promoting social justice and creating decent work for all.


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