Social Economy International

Little known in the United States is the extent to which social/solidarity economy policies have proliferated around the world, especially in Canada, South America and Europe. The expression popularized at the World Social Forum, “Another World is Possible”, is more than a slogan in nations where social economy activities now represent 5-10% of gross domestic product. In these countries, for example, national and regional government ministries have been formed to promote growth strategies for this sector of their growing economies.

It is imperative that international experiences be shared and adapted for local conditions. No nation or region should make the mistake of only looking inward at this important moment of structural experimentation and change.

Work at different United Nations’ agencies, especially at the International Labour Organization, provides a universal umbrella for viewing the thinking and practices currently taking place worldwide. Another example is RIPESS, which according to its own website, “is an intercontinental network that connects social and solidarity economy networks throughout the world.  As a network of networks, it brings together continental networks, that in turn bring together national and sectoral networks.  RIPESS believes in the importance of global solidarity in order to build and strengthen an economy that puts people and planet front and center. From Lima to Quebec, from Dakar to Luxembourg, RIPESS organizes global forums”  every four years and is a nexus for learning, information sharing and collaboration”.

Key Resources



  • Global Vision for a Social and Solidarity Economy: Convergences and Differences in Concepts, Definitions, and Frameworks, by RIPESS (February, 2015 ) [English] / [Spanish] / [French] PDF
  • Social and Solidarity Economy: Our Common Road Toward Decent Work, by the ILO International Training Center (October, 2011) [English] / [Spanish] / [French] PDF
  • What is Social and Solidarity Economy and Why Does It Matter?, by UNRISD Deputy Director Peter Utting (April, 2013) [English] PDF
  • ILO and Cooperatives, No. 2  (2013) [English] PDF

See Also