On 28 September 2021, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), SSE International Forum (SSEIF), the Association Internationale de la Mutualité (AIM) and the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) came together to launch a new coalition. The International Coalition of the Social and Solidarity Economy (ICSSE) brings together intercontinental networks of associations, cooperatives, foundations, social enterprises, mutuals and local and territorial authorities in order to strengthen the visibility and promotion of SSE communities throughout the world. More concretely, Pedro Bleck Da Silva, Special Adviser to the AIM Presidium announced that with this coalition “we are gathering, strengthening and promoting a community of SSE actors to make a more sustainable world a reality”. A path that is all the more obvious, as Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive of ICMIF, reminded the audience that “being sustainable is in the DNA of cooperatives and mutuals” and that “it is therefore appropriate that we pool our advocacy to show what our sector can do together under the banner ofthe ICSSE”. The common goal of scaling up and better recognition of SSE as a vector of solutions and innovations in and out of times of crisis was at the heart of the interventions at the launch event.
Alain Coheur, Co-President of SSEIF opened the session by underlining his deep conviction that “the alliance of our strengths will allow the social and solidarity economy model of society to be better known and recognized”. Paul Ladd, Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), followed suit, noting that the coalition was being launched at a “perfect time” to enable its members to aim “higher by working together in the service of the SSE”. A pooling of expertise and knowledge that Xavier Michon, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), welcomed as a way to reduce “the gap between investors and entrepreneurial activities”.
As the challenges are multi-sectoral and at various scales, Laurence Kwark, Secretary General of GSEF emphasized the role that the ICSSE must play “to work more closely with local and national governments and UN agencies to strengthen the capacity of SSE organizations and enterprises”. SSE which, according to Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), “embodies the aspiration for a new people-centred social contract with maximised social value”. A sentiment shared by the members of the coalition and summed up by Elisa Torrenegra, Co-President of SSEIF, who concluded the event by stating that the ICSSE is here to make each of the SSE networks’ advocacy actions stronger and more impactful, by joining forces and carrying the same political and economic voice at the international level”.