Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Sousse to host the Global Social Economy Forum in 2023

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, July 6th 2021 à 17:10 | Read 903 times

The GSEF promotes the social economy (illustration: GSEF)
The GSEF promotes the social economy (illustration: GSEF)
TUNISIA. The city of Sousse (150 km south of Tunis in the Gulf of Hammamet) officially applied on Sunday 4 July 2021 to host the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF)* in early spring 2023. For the moment, to our knowledge, it is only the second city, after the announcement of Dakar in Senegal in May 2021, to bid for this organisation.

The Tunisian application is submitted by Mohamed Ikbel Khaled, mayor of the country's third city (after Tunis and Sfax). He signed an agreement with iesMed. Based in Barcelona and present since May 2017 with a subsidiary in Tunisia, the Mediterranean platform of support to the social and solidarity economy (SSE) is at the initiative in March 2021 of the creation of Daress Tunisia in Tunis, a national resource centre of the social and solidarity economy. The Catalan cooperative had already organised MedESS in 2013 in the Tunisian capital to lay the first stone of a Mediterranean SSE ecosystem. Hosting a GSEF would therefore continue to pave the way for SSE. In order to prepare this future event, iesMed has already facilitated a Med panel at the EU Social Economy Summit (EUSES) in Mannheim (virtual conference on 26-27 May 2021). It plans to repeat the experience during the editions in Slovenia (11-12 October 2021) and in France (17-18 February 2022) of this conference.

An eighteen-month common thread

Other public and private partners will complete this governance to "ensure ambitious financing not only of the Forum itself, but also of its upstream and downstream phases, up to the major European conference organised by the Spanish Presidency of the EU in the second half of 2021", states the application file. The promoters intend to build a common thread over eighteen months with the Forum itself as the central event. Exchanges would therefore begin in March-April 2022 during the International Spring of Solidarity Commitment and end on 28 November 2023 on the occasion of the Day of the Mediterranean in Barcelona, the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), and under the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. The total budget of the GSEF in Sousse is estimated at €1m and will be entirely self-financed.

The main international networks of SSE actors (in particular the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), RIPESS, a global network of continental networks committed to the promotion of SSE, Social Economy Europe, Esmed), as well as their European and African networks, will also be involved.

The next GSEF will take place in Mexico City (photo: GESF)
The next GSEF will take place in Mexico City (photo: GESF)

Five thematic forums and as many world firsts

The GSEF in Sousse would host five thematic forums over five days (Monday to Friday) organised for the first time at the global level: the blue social economy forum (EBS), the solidarity-based digital transition (TDS), food security (SAS), care, and migration forums.

The EBS global forum would be based on the model of the first two Mediterranean forums of its kind (including the one in Sousse on 8 and 9 October 2021), which will deal mainly with alternative solidarity tourism, the solidarity circular economy, artisanal fishing, aquaculture, and the conservation and protection of coastal resources.
The TDS global forum will draw lessons from the future European Social Economy conference organised by the Slovenian Presidency in October 2021. The SAS global forum would be based on the UN's Milan Pact, supported in particular by the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation). The forum on solidarity-based care would focus on the care economy (local services) and the forum on solidarity-based migration would benefit from the expertise of the city of Sousse on this subject.

If Sousse's bid is accepted - the decision should be made at the end of September or beginning of October 2021 - the GSEF would take place for the first time on the African continent and on the Mediterranean coast. The Tunisian city would come after Seoul (2013 and 2014), Montreal (2016) and Bilbao (2018).

The next GSEF will be held in Mexico City from 4 to 8 October 2021, after a virtual edition in 2020 (19 to 23 October) due to the pandemic.

* The GSEF is an international association of local governments and civil society networks committed to the promotion of SSE (social enterprises, cooperatives, foundations, mutuals, self-help groups). The GSEF considers that systemic change starts at the local level, based on a partnership between civil society and the public and private sectors. The event is therefore co-chaired each year by a local government (represented by the mayor of the city who chairs the GSEF) and a representative of civil society networks.
The GSEF has seventy-five members from thirty-six countries (five continents), including twenty-six local governments and thirty-five SSE networks.

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