UNTFSSE 4th Technical Symposium: Advancing the Social and Solidarity Economy in Quebec and Beyond

On October 2-3, 2023, the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) attended its highly anticipated 4th Technical Symposium, in Montreal, Canada.

News | 11 October 2023
The two-day UNTFSSE Fourth Technical Symposium was held in partnership with the Government of Quebec, the City of Montreal, and the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins. It brought together Members (UN agencies including ILO, UNCTAD, UNRISD, ESCAP and others as well as OECD) and Observers (global and/or regional organizations that actively promote and engage in the promotion of the SSE in alignment with the UNTFSSE’s aims).

High-level representatives participating in the event from Quebec included the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy of Quebec, the Directeur Général of Caisse d’Économie Solidaire, and the Desjardins Group. At the international level high-level representatives from Senegal and France, two of the Member States that led the charge on the recently adopted UN General Assembly Resolution on "Promoting the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development" (A/RES/77/281) were also among the participants.

This fourth technical symposium brought together global policymakers, practitioners, and researchers, to explore effective implementation of the UNGA Resolution and to develop a new UNTFSSE Action Plan to this regard. The event was held in Montréal to benefit from Québec’s social economy experience, developed through joint action between the social economy movement and relevant government institutions.

Key Symposium Highlights:
  • Plenary Sessions: Esteemed keynote speakers offered insights into the significance of the SSE and its implications for global and local sustainable development. UNTFSSE leads presented the task force’s action plan, setting the stage for comprehensive breakout discussions.
  • Breakout Sessions: Attendees engaged in focused and interactive breakout sessions, delving into specific aspects of the resolution's implementation including policy frameworks, education, financial mechanisms, localization and statistics.
  • Engagement of Member States: High-level representatives of France and Senegal attended in-person while representatives of Chile and Spain provided video messages. Representatives of the Quebec Ministries of Economy, Innovation and Energy and Ministry of International Affairs, as well as local representatives from the city of Montreal.
  • Networking Opportunities: The symposium provided networking opportunities among experts, practitioners, policymakers, and academics who share a commitment to sustainable development through social and solidarity economy.

  • Celebrating local SSE: Participants spent an afternoon on the second day visiting local SSE entities. UNTFSSE members were also invited to the National Assembly in Quebec to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the SSE law on October 4, 2023.
The event culminated in the task force re-affirming its commitment to advancing the SSE within the UN system and beyond. A draft of the action plan will be presented to Members and Observers at the next online meeting in December. “We made good progress at the symposium via five breakout sessions. We will follow up through technical working groups, e.g. on statistics and financing” said Simel Esim, UNTFSSE Co-Chair and Head of International Labour Organization’s Cooperatives Unit.