The International Co-operative Alliance has marked the first year of its partnership programme with the European Commission with a review meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica on 13-16 March.
Signed on 18 March 2016, the agreement recognises co-operatives as strong development actors and aims to further strengthen the global movement, enhance its visibility and increase its capacity to influence global and regional development policies.
During its first year, the programme has sought to give more visibility to the co-operative model in development processes, and has enhanced collaboration among the different offices of the Alliance.
Last October, the Alliance launched a Global Co-operative Development Platform (GCDP) to bring together co-operative organisations active in the development sector.
After analysing the needs of the sector, the Alliance planned staff training in policy, research, and EU project administration, facilitated by experts from several leading organisations such as United Nations Development Programme, Brazilian science funding body Finep, and Spain’s National University of Distance Education (UNED).
The Alliance has also set out a visibility strategy for the ICA-EU partnership, to raise awareness of the co-operative model in international development, using the hashtag #coops4dev on social media.
As a result of the partnership, the Alliance participated in high-level UN events including the Climate Change Conference and the Commission on the Status of Women.
The partnership has also enhanced advocacy work in the regional offices such as Cooperatives Europe, which ensured that co-ops were mentioned in major EU policy documents on international development.
Catarina Santos, the Alliance’s communication officer, said: “The programme will be represented at the European Development Days in June, and at the Alliance’s General Assembly in Malaysia, which is themed Putting People at the Centre of Development.
“You can expect to see the results of our global research on youth, and get your hands on a new publication on the added value of co-operatives in international development – and definitely follow the #coops4dev for latest news and stories about co-operatives in development.”