The bill on social and solidarity economy (SSE) was adopted on 17 June 2020 by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in Tunisia with 131 votes in favour, zero objections and only one abstention. The official French version of the law is available here. The video above is from a ceremony organized on 29 June 2020 on the occasion of the adoption of the law.
The new law aims to balance economic growth and social equity by promoting equitable co-existence of the public, private and the social economy institutions. It also aims to promote economic and social inclusion of the disadvantaged and marginalized populations including those living in isolated, rural areas and unemployed youth by encouraging them to associate in cooperatives, mutual organizations or self-help groups that can help improve livelihoods and create jobs.
The law sets the reference framework for the SSE and provides a definition and boundaries for the SSE. It specifies the type of organizations that are part of the SSE and the conditions that need to be met to be included among the structures and mechanisms of the SSE.
The law outlines three institutional structures for the governance and development of the SSE: the Supreme Council for Social and Solidarity Economy; the Tunisian Commission for Social and Solidarity Economy; and the representative structures of social and solidarity economy organizations. Concerning financing, the law provides for the creation of financing lines adapted to SSE organizations and the creation of cooperative banks.
The adoption of this laws is the result of a long process of tripartite consultations. The ILO has provided technical support during the whole process within the framework of the “Promotion of Organizations and Mechanisms of Social and Solidarity Economy (PROMESS)” project financed by the Government of the Netherlands. Through its approach focused on social dialogue, the project has supported the ILO constituents (government, workers’ and employers’ organizations) and civil society organizations in the development of this law. The process has benefitted from the ILO’s strategic documents and standards like the Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No. 193) in general and from the ILO’s expertise and experience in the field of cooperative policy development in particular.
More recent and upcoming ILO projects, including JEUN’ESS (financed by the European Commission) and PAJESS (financed by the Government of Luxembourg), will contribute toward the implementation of the new law.