Asia Policy Dialogue 2019

30 Oct 2019
Category of project: 
Regional Policy Dialogues

Growth of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in Asia
The importance of social and solidarity economy in contributing an equitable and inclusive economic development has been recognized in many Asian cities. Many cities leverage the characteristic of SSE on social and environmental consideration during economic development rather than profit maximization which is believed to be the cause of many urban problems such as environmental degradation, natural disasters, increasing gap between the rich and the poor etc. In some mega cities, the grave challenges are more critical to the marginalized group such as elderly, disabilities, youth, women, illiterate group and urban poor due to discrimination, poorly planned education and wealth inequality. Although the format varies in different cities, it is encouraging to seeing the overall supportive policies for the growth of the SSE like seed capital, tax incentive and establishing social enterprise (SE) intermediaries.
The role of SSE in localizing the SDGs
The potential of SSE in localizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiated by the United Nations (UN) has recently captured the attention of some Asian cities. The SDGs are aiming at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity (UNDP, 2019). Many policymakers and researchers started realizing that characteristic of SSE in incorporating social, economic and environmental objectives in an integrated and balanced manner is coherent to the objectives of the SDGs. A healthy and sustainable SSE would contribute to the achievement of SDGs and, particularly, completion of Voluntary National Reviews launched by the UN on SDG 4, 8, 10, 13, 16 and 17 which will be ended in July 2019.
The role of local governments in promoting social and solidarity economy
There have been several attempts to make a platform to discuss public policies on SSE for more vibrant and powerful ecosystem for SE in Asia. Because the phase of development in social economy in each country in Asia varies and also the used terms and definitions related to SSE are different from each region in their historical, cultural, and socio-economic context, the need for a common ground of interregional dialogues has continuously raised in the region. Some cities have successfully issued relevant public policies to support the development of SSE with the SSE actors. This co-creation practice enhances the legitimacy of the policies and consolidates support from other stakeholders including citizens.
Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) is a global network that currently brings together local governments and networks of local governments, and organizations and networks of social economy. GSEF is currently co-chaired by Seoul City under Mayor Park Won-Soon and Seoul Social Economy Network under Mr. KIM Joung-Youl. It shows the collaboration between local government and civil society network.

GSEF has been focusing on the role of the local governments, since the maximum impact of social economy come from the local community when its activities are deeply rooted in the region and strongly supported by the citizens. Also the SE enterprises could make meaningful changes in the lives of citizens-regional production, consumption patterns, quality of employment, or regional development, if the local government, the closest public office to the citizens’ lives, are trying to build a supporting network for SE enterprises and raise awareness on the potential of SSE to the local people.

GSEF joined the efforts to facilitate the regional policy dialogues in Asia since its establishment in 2014. With partners including the British Council and AVPN, the GSEF held an Asia Policy Dialogues every year with the belief that the role of policy to nurture social economy for more inclusive and sustainable local development is significant.
As a part of the continuous effort, in the year of 2019, GSEF organized the Asia Policy Dialogue to provide the space for open discussion and mutual learning for government officials with SSE actors and specialists and to expand the impact of SSE as an innovative strategy to achieve SDGs at the local level.
Previous Asia Policy Dialogue by GSEF:
  • APD 2018, “Public policy for financing the social and solidarity economy to strengthen its values and competitiveness” (Jul. 5~6.2018, Seoul)
  • APD 2017, “Effective public policy design for fostering social economy as a leverage for inclusive development in Asia” (Jun. 30~Jul.1. 2017, Seoul)
  • APD 2016, “The role of government in enhancing impact in the Social Economy in Asia” (May26, 2016, Hong Kong) – jointly organized with AVPN

  • To foster a common understanding and appreciation of the role of SSE among policy makers and practitioners in Asia
  • To provide a platform for learning and exchanging of ideas and experiences for an effective and vibrant social and solidarity economy
  • To define the role of government in supporting the development of SSE and what kind of policy measures to be adopted in order to expand the SSE organizations’ social impacts and competitiveness in the market and how the process of policy making, and implementation should be done.
  • To offer opportunities for participating GSEF members and partners to brainstorm and search for a more specific and viable collaborative project through the network.
  • To discuss to what extent local government should provide necessary support to promote and develop SSE
  • To find out the possible strategies for a successful collaboration between local government and SSE actors on public policies on SSE
  • To understand how SSE can enhance the wellbeing of citizens
  • To discuss and share experience on to what extent can SSE contribute to localizing SDGs and suggest the appropriate approach to develop SSE in Asian cities.

 Key Questions:
  • What are the characteristics of the social economy in Asia to be recognized in its social values and competitiveness for and inclusive and sustainable local development?
  • How can a city government co-create public policies on SEE together with SSE actors for maximizing the impact?
  • What are the characteristics of public policies on SSE based on the successful experience from the region?
  • How can citizens leverage the benefits of SSE to enhance their wellbeing suggested in SDGs?
  • How can city government leverage the benefits of SSE to localize the SDGs?
  • How can the cooperation between local government and SE intermediaries through international network could strengthen each region’s SE development?

Time & Venue:
Date:  October 30(Wed) 2019

Venue: Seoul City Hall (Seosomun Complex, 13th Floor)

This year, APD 2019 gathered more than 30 participants including government officials, SSE intermediaries, and SSE actors from 9 countries to discuss about the experience of implementing Social and Solidarity Economy in their country or city.

Although the contexts of the participants’ cities are different in terms of size, population, economy and level of development, they are facing similar problems due to urbanization and rapid economic development which neglects the environmental and social factors.

The first two sessions focused on the experience of governments to utilize Social and Solidarity Economy to create an inclusive and sustainable economy. They all agree that SSE can be an option to improve the wellbeing of their citizens and protect the nature in the process of development. During the presentations, some countries and cities have indicated that a clear strategic plan to develop SSE for achieving will be implemented in the coming years. However, public awareness and support are indispensible in facilitating the implementation of a robust SSE.

In the last session of the APD, SSE intermediaries were invited to talk about their experience in nurturing SSE with different expertise including capacity building, networking and impact investment. They shared the same idea that government support including legal framework and subsidy cannot be regarded as the sole subsistence of the SSE actors since government support is not durable under the economic fluctuations and rotation of government leadership. At the same time, bureaucracy may hinder creativity in managing SSE. An ecosystem for SSE is necessary to maintain SSE industry sustainable.  

You may click here for all the PPT presentations during the APD.  

Asia Policy Dialogue 2019