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Back | Programme Area: Research-Related Activities, Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Overcoming Refugee and Migrant Precarity: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy?

Date: 20 Sep 2017

  • Time: 1:30-3:00 PM
  • Location: Room XXIV, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10 Switzerland
  • Counterpart(s): Université de Genève, Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations Office at Geneva
  • Project Title: UNRISD Seminar Series

Overcoming Refugee and Migrant Precarity: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy?

Official Side Event of the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council

In the past 10 years, cuts in publicly funded social protection and integration programmes due to austerity measures have combined with large movements of migrants and refugees at a scale not seen since the Second World War. In many countries around the world this has created a dangerous cocktail of human suffering, frustration and precarity; xenophobic populism; and the sidelining or violation of international human rights obligations.

Governments and other stakeholders acknowledge that large movements of refugees and migrants will only be sustainably stemmed by addressing the root causes of these flows, from armed conflict to natural and man-made disasters, to poverty and the lack of development and economic opportunities. Yet such large movements are a “growing global phenomenon”, while tackling their root causes will be a complex and long-term endeavour.

Thus governments and other stakeholders are also seeking ways to provide social protection to and foster the integration of migrants and refugees in their host societies. In doing so, researchers, policy makers and practitioners have begun to draw attention to the role of social and solidarity economy (SSE). With its principles and practices that aim to reintroduce values of equity and justice, humanize the economy and foster people’s participation and agency, what role can SSE play in combating some of the significant difficulties facing refugee and migrant populations, such as overcoming social exclusion and xenophobia, and accessing decent work?

This Side Event will explore the role of social and solidarity economy in:
  • promoting the human rights of migrant and refugee populations
  • fostering the social inclusion and sustainable livelihoods of migrant and refugee populations
  • supporting the developmental and human rights-related aspects of the Global Compact for Migration

Speakers include experts from international organizations, governments and civil society.

The event also serves to introduce Social and Solidarity Economy, Urban Communities and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups, a new UNRISD project in collaboration with the University of Geneva (funded by Swiss Network for International Studies), and to network with stakeholders who wish to be kept abreast of this research.

Opening Remarks

Ambassador Anna Korka, Permanent Representative, Mission of Greece in Geneva


Name and affiliation
Katja Hujo
Senior Research Coordinator, UNRISD
Overcoming Migrant Precarity: A Rights-Based Approach to Migration Governance
Ibrahim Saïd
Research Analyst, UNRISD
Social and Solidarity Economy
Simel Esim
Head, Cooperatives Unit, ILO
Migration and the Quest for Decent Work: The Role of Cooperatives in Social and Economic Integration
Heidi Christ
Artisan Value Chain Expert, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Promoting Livelihoods: Creating Opportunities for Refugees through Artisanal Work
Maria Mexi
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Citizenship Studies, University of Geneva
Migrants and Refugees in Europe: The Role of SSE in Times of Austerity and Populist Politics


Ilcheong Yi
Senior Research Coordinator, UNRISD

State sponsor

Permanent Mission of Greece to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva