ILO holds kick-off briefing session for the project on the social and solidarity economy in Kyrgyzstan

The briefing session was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to introduce the Strengthening the Social and Solidarity Economy in Asia project to the ILO Constituents and social and solidarity economy (SSE) partners. The participants in the session included representatives from related government ministries, workers’ organizations, SSE institutions, and other relevant stakeholders.

News | 20 December 2022
The project on Strengthening the SSE in Asia is being implemented in five countries (Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam). It aims to inform and create policy dialogue on the contributions of the SSE to decent work and sustainable development among ILO constituents and development practitioners.

The project outputs and outcomes are aligned with the ILO Resolution concerning decent work and the social and solidarity economy adopted at the 110th International Labour Conference (ILC) in June 2022. The project will also contribute to the implementation of the ILO’s office-wide strategy and action plan on decent work and the social and solidarity economy (2023-29), endorsed by the 346th session of the ILO Governing Body in November 2022.

The ILO has established national advisory committees (NACs) in the five countries of the project. The NACs will guide the national consultants in undertaking the mapping studies and in validating the findings. The mapping studies will serve to develop national definitions of the SSE that are based on and adapted from the international tripartite definition adopted at the 110th ILC. The national case studies will also identify knowledge gaps and capacity building needs around the SSE based on the national priorities. Follow-up policy dialogue sessions will be held to ensure that the study findings are disseminated nationally.

In Kyrgyzstan, the hybrid meeting was held on 8 December 2022, in Bishkek, bringing together representatives from the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Migration, Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan, supporting institutions, ILO Moscow Office and ILO’s Cooperatives, Social and Solidarity Economy Unit.

In the opening remarks, Ms. Cristina Martinez, Senior Specialist on Enterprise Development and Green Jobs of ILO Moscow office introduced the ILO activities in the region stressing the relevance of the SSE for advancing the Decent Work Agenda and towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. Simel Esim, Head of the ILO Cooperatives, Social and Solidarity Economy Unit gave a presentation, introducing the tripartite agreed definition of the social and solidarity economy adopted at the 110th International Labour Conference as part of the Resolution and conclusions concerning decent work and the SSE. She also highlighted the key objectives under the seven-year strategy and action plan concerning decent work and the SSE developed in follow up to the resolution for its implementation.

Ms. Heejin Ahn, Technical officer of the ILO Cooperatives, Social and Solidarity Economy Unit presented the overview of the project, including its objective, activities, and the way that the NACs will work with the regional advisory committee.

Ms. Nazik Beishenaly, the ILO consultant, presented an overview of the social and solidarity economy in the context of Kyrgyzstan. She noted that this term is new in Kyrgyzstan, although some of the principles, values and organizational forms that fall under the SSE exist in the country. She then presented the timeline and working modalities of the national advisory committee.

A round of questions and answers followed with a fruitful discussion on priority areas around the SSE for Kyrgyzstan. When asked about the preliminary study findings, Ms. Beishenaly highlighted observations such as the lack of funding, lack of understanding and the importance of defining what is the SSE. She added that neighbouring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have recently adopted laws on social enterprises. In Kyrgyzstan, there is no legal definition for social enterprises, although many organizations consider themselves as social enterprises.

Other comments and suggestions were around the need to better align the research with the National Development Programme of the Kyrgyz Republic till 2026, potential regulatory challenges around SSE engagement in provision of care services and the relevance of the SSE for job creation in the creative industries.

Participants highlighted the relevance and the timeliness of this research and policy dialogue initiative to be undertaken by the ILO and expressed their readiness to support this work with their knowledge and inputs.