Ireland signs the Toledo Declaration on Social Enterprise

Signing the Declaration

On Friday 4 December, Heather Humphreys TD, the Irish Minister for Rural and Community Development, announced that Ireland has signed the Toledo Declaration on Social Enterprise. The Toledo Declaration is a commitment to strengthening and supporting social enterprises, recognising the significant role that the social economy has in improving socioeonomic, environmental and health outcomes – especially in the face of Covid-19 recovery. 

The Declaration was signed at a high-level meeting on the social and solidarity economy in the EU – organised by the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Economy. Announcing the signing, Minister Humphreys said:


“The past few months have brought into sharp focus the critical role of social enterprises to Irish society, demonstrated by their responses to the challenges of COVID-19. Our Social Enterprises put their communities in which they serve to the forefront and showed an incredible ability to adapt and innovate for the benefit of society.

It is important that we support Social Enterprises to ensure that our economic and social recovery is a sustainable one that leaves no one behind. Today I am announcing Ireland’s signature of the Toledo Declaration which is a further articulation of Ireland’s firm commitment to Social Enterprise.”


What is the current support landscape for SE in Ireland?

Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 was launched by the newly-established Department of Rural and Community Development on 18 July 2019, with the aim of creating an enabling environment for social enterprise to flourish, and contribute more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress.

The National Social Enterprise Policy in Ireland complements the Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sectors in Ireland, and a new National Volunteering Strategy – taking a holistic view of support for the social and solidarity economy. 


More detail on the Toledo Declaration

The Toledo Declaration includes seven commitments, summarised here:


  1. Raise the visibility and recognition of the social and solidarity economy through policies, plans and actions (in collaboration with major actors)
  2. Promote the economic, social and environmental development model of the social and solidarity economy
  3. Support the generation of ecosystems favourable to the social and solidarity economy
  4. Ensure that financial support is in place to enable a viable and sustainable social and solidarity economy
  5. Recognise the critical role of the social and solidarity economy as a driver for sustainable and inclusive Covid-19 recovery
  6. Contribute to the international expansion of the social and solidarity economy
  7. Generate and maintain high-level cooperation and dialogue to coordinate actions to support the social and solidarity economy