ILO COOP participates to the CIRIEC conference on Social Economy

The 9th CIRIEC International Research Conference on Social Economy, with the theme "Building Forward Better: Social and Solidarity Economy for a Peaceful and Fair World," was successfully held in Seoul, Korea, from July 4 to 6, 2023.

Actualité | 21 juillet 2023
Co-hosted by CIRIEC, Sungkonghoe University, and several other esteemed organizations, this conference marked the first time the event took place in Asia, offering a unique opportunity to delve into the social economy landscape in the Republic of Korea and around the world.

CIRIEC (International Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and Cooperative Economy), an international non-governmental scientific organization founded in 1947, aims to promote scientific research, information collection, and the publication of works focused on economic sectors and activities that serve the general and collective interest. With 14 national sections and 11 affiliated members globally, CIRIEC acts as an international meeting point for managers and researchers alike, fostering research, reflection, and networking without any specific lobbying agenda.

On 4 July 2023, at the National Assembly Library, the conference's opening session commenced with a keynote address by Mr. Hyun-gon Jung, President of the Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency (KoSEA), who highlighted the rapid growth of the social economy in Korea and emphasized the importance of developing a national statistical and evaluation system to measure organizational performance and expand social impact.

The opening speech by Ms. Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, Director of ENTERPRISES Department at the International Labour Organization (ILO), started by highlighting its long-standing collaboration with CIRIEC. The ILO, established in 1919, shares a legacy with CIRIEC, as both organizations were influenced by Edgard Milhaud, who played a crucial role in the ILO's early years. The ILO and CIRIEC collaborated on various initiatives, including research on cooperatives and the development of cooperative statistics.

Ms. Vejs-Kjeldgaard further highlighted the ILO's commitment to promoting decent work and the social and solidarity economy through research, statistics, capacity building, and policy advocacy. The ILO stressed the importance of practical applications in advancing the social and solidarity economy and addressed key areas such as care economies, transitioning from the informal to formal economies, digitalization, and sustainable development. With the adoption of resolutions on the social and solidarity economy at both the International Labour Conference and the United Nations General Assembly, the ILO reinforced its role in leading the global efforts to promote the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development.

The conference featured distinguished speakers, including Prof. Katherine Gibson, from Western Sydney University and a co-founder of the Community Economies Collective. Prof. Gibson emphasized the need for a different kind of economy that moves away from the growth-driven capitalist market system, advocating for the social and solidarity economy as a means to diversify economic activities and prioritize social value over profit.

Thematic sessions explored international trends in the social and solidarity economy, featuring panels from organizations such as the ILO, International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF).

On 5 July 2023, at Sungkonghoe University, a dedicated session on statistics of cooperatives and SSE provided a global overview and showcased country-specific cases from Turkey, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Panel discussions further delved into the opportunities and challenges surrounding statistics of cooperatives and the SSE, underscoring the importance having a common statistical definition of cooperatives and the social and solidarity economy.


On 6 July 2023, the 9th CIRIEC International Research Conference on Social Economy concluded on a high note, leaving participants inspired and equipped with valuable insights, research findings, and collaborative networks. CIRIEC conference provided a platform for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to exchange knowledge, explore innovative approaches, and discuss the challenges and opportunities within the social and solidarity economy.