The first stage of the ICA-EU Partnership on international cooperative development (#coops4dev🌍) has come to an end after five and a half years of successful collaboration.
Having started in March 2016, #coops4dev🌍 aimed to strengthen the role of the cooperative movement as a development actor. Between 2016 and 2021 #coops4dev🌍 has supported the cooperative movement through various activities, from institutional strengthening, research and capacity building to visibility and communication, networking, advocacy and political dialogue.
Some of the most important achievements of the Partnership were celebrated during a closing event on 30 September with representatives from the European Commission, the ICA global and regional offices, international development actors, and the wider cooperative movement.
Keynote speakers included Marlene Holzner, Head of Unit G2 at the European Commission’s Directorate-General International Partnerships (INTPA), who said that cooperatives brought “unique added value” to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ms Holzner praised cooperatives for creating sustainable jobs, reducing inequalities and working with communities on the ground. She said that a future partnership between the European Commission and the ICA could focus particularly on capacity building for members.
ICA President Ariel Guarco said the partnership with the European Commission had shown the power of intercooperation and the importance of the cooperative movement in tackling global challenges. He added that the ICA looked forward to continuing the partnership with the Commission.
ICA International Development Director Marc Noël also said: “It is very important for us being politically supported and recognised by the European Commission as a partner to achieve the SDGs and to build a better world.”
The event featured a conversation among the ICA’s regional directors and ICA Director General Bruno Roelants, who explained what the Partnership had done for their organisations and their members.
Mr Roelants said the Partnership had made sustainable development a key strategic goal not only for the ICA, but also the wider cooperative movement.
ICA partner organisations also shared their views on how #coops4dev🌍 had helped them work closer with cooperatives.
The event concluded with three parallel sessions highlighting the contributions of #coops4dev🌍 in three areas: policy dialogue and partnerships, research, and capacity building.
Through the #coops4dev🌍 programme the global cooperative movement was able to reach several milestones. These included the recognition of cooperatives as key development actors in the EU’s Consensus on Development strategy and the European Commission’s agenda for external action.
The #coops4dev🌍 partnership also helped to fill knowledge gaps, providing consistent and reliable research on cooperatives. A total of 79 country reports on legal framework analysis and four regional reports on legal framework analysis were produced as part of the #coops4dev🌍 programme.
Throughout the five years the ICA regional and global offices, members, partners, and other stakeholders ran a range of educational, capacity building, coaching and mentorship programmes, including 14 training sessions on establishing and strengthening federations and 28 training sessions on policy dialogue and 12 seminars on knowledge and experience sharing among members.
#coops4dev🌍 marked the start of a new chapter for cooperatives in international development!
To find our more about #coops4dev’s achievements read the Partnership’s storybook here.