Call on decision makers to take concrete steps to develop the social economy

Six organizations from the region signed the “Western Balkans Civil Society Declaration on the Social Economy”, which called on decision-makers to take concrete steps that will contribute to the further development of the social economy as a relevant economic model that is centered on the protection of society and the planet.

At a time when the world is increasingly profit-oriented, vulnerable groups face marginalization and threats to the environment increasingly endanger its existence, the social economy has imposed itself as one of the solutions to counteract these developments. Relying on various EU initiatives, various organizations from the region in cooperation with partners, have anchored the social economy as a concept for the sustainable development of Western Balkan societies. Over the past decades, thanks to the efforts of many organizations and their partners, several strategies and legal solutions have been adopted, new models of financial support have been developed and national and regional programs dedicated to knowledge acquisition and awareness raising among various stakeholders have been launched.

Late last year, the European Commission adopted the European Action Plan for the Social Economy, which points to its role in job creation and inclusive and sustainable growth. The action plan offers a clear framework to support the development of the social economy. Through the promotion of the circular economy, tech4good solutions, social inclusion of the most vulnerable people and youth participation, the social economy plays a key role in achieving a fair, green and digital transition.

Considering that the time has come for the social economy to become part of the official and visible policy of the Western Balkans government and regional bodies, representatives of civil society organizations signed and launched a Declaration calling on and encouraging decision makers in the EU, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia to take certain steps that would accelerate its development. These steps include further cooperation in creating a favorable policy environment for the development of the social economy, adequate financial support that recognizes its specificity, association and cross-sectoral partnerships, as well as the dissemination of knowledge on the social economy.

The declaration was signed on June 15 at the Social Innovations Forum in Belgrade by representatives of Yunus Social Business Balkans (ALB), Youth Alliance Krusevo (MKD), CDP Globus (BIH), Center for Youth Education (MNE), Forum for Civic initiatives (KOS) and the Coalition for the Development of the Solidarity Economy (CoSED), which also initiated the declaration. The signatories also invited other organizations to join and sign the declaration, which they can do via the form on the KoRSE website.

The Coalition for the Development of the Solidarity Economy (KoRSe) was founded in 2010 as an informal network of organizations that support the development of solidarity entrepreneurship, consisting of the Trag Foundation, the European Movement in Serbia (EMS), the Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) and Smart Kolektiv.