Photo: © Rosario Parra

As people-centred businesses, cooperatives are owned and run by their members, who have an equal say in what their organisation does and how it generates and uses profits.

Cooperatives are a tried-and-tested model in international development, enabling people around the world to take control over their livelihoods. Supporting the growth of cooperatives is, therefore, an established way to empower people and local communities to take charge of their own development, putting people before profit.

ICA-EU partnership: strengthening #coops4dev

In March 2016, the International Co-operative Alliance entered into a partnership with the European Commission, ushering in a new phase of collaboration on strengthening the cooperative movement as development actors.

The ICA-EU partnership aims to bring the cooperative model to the next level within international development policies and programs. It is built around activities focused on increasing visibility, enhancing advocacy, sharing capacity building, strengthening cooperative development networking, and supporting all these with evidence from exhaustive research.

Acting as partners, the regional and global offices of the ICA are driving the actions, in collaboration with members, civil society organisations, international institutions, and the EU.

What are the first outcomes of the partnership under the banner of #coops4dev ?

  • The launch of the International Co-operative Development Platform (ICDP), bringing together at the global level the cooperative federations and organisations implementing international development. This includes regional networks such as the Cooperatives Europe Development Platform (CEDP), the Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) as well as individual cooperative organisations active in international development
  • A visibility strategy and campaign to raise awareness about the identity of the cooperative model in development
  • Training and capacity building for members on advocacy and policy dialogue, as well as knowledge building seminars on youth and gender
  • The Coops for 2030 campaign, to learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), commit cooperative pledges on implementation and report progress.
  • High-level conferences with civil society and international institutions, to advocate for a stronger inclusion of cooperative actors in development policies and programs and establish new partnerships
  • A historic recognition within the new EU Consensus on Development, co-signed by the EU Commission, Parliament and Council, which includes 3 strong references pointing out the role of cooperatives as key actors in the SDG implementation.

We are working right now on:

  • An exhaustive mapping of the ICA membership in each country to provide a precise picture of the cooperative strength
  • A legal framework analysis by country, to document and monitor the implementation of cooperative legislation and policies worldwide
  • Furthering the participation of cooperative organisations from all regions in policy processes and dialogue, such as the EU Policy Forum on Development

Find out more about the role cooperatives play in development by following #coops4dev, and pledge your cooperative to the Sustainable Development Goals in our Co-ops for 2030 website.



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