Co-operatives, depending on their economic activity and their governments, face very different regulatory and development contexts around the world. In the Philippines for example, not long ago it was not possible to form a co-operative because citizen organizing was not permitted by the government. That has since changed and the Philippines’ co-operative movement continues to innovate and grow.
In Canada, earlier this year the funding for the federal Co-operative Development Initiative was cut and now the movement is called to return to its roots as a DIY (do-it-yourself…or ourselves) movement and create new support for development.
This conference has attracted some regulators from countries all over the world. Some would argue it would be great to see more involved. That simply means the onus is now on the leaders in the room to champion these ideas to their regulators who were not present. In fact, I was able to speak to a federal Canadian civil servant and learned about the new federal credit union legislative framework that will come into effect this year in Canada. The value of convening these people is to round out their understanding of the opportunities for co-operatives, as illustrated through examples from other countries. When governments see their role as enabling co-operatives, while also being responsible with their regulation, it can make a major difference for the development of co-operatives in their jurisdictions.
During the MINISTERIAL ROUND TABLE: A role to play – global socio-political influence Dame Pauline Green reminds us that 90 governments supported the UN declaration to name 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives, which she noted was double the support received for any other international year declaration. The symbolism of such support is felt across the globe.
Roberto Rodrigues, Special Ambassador for Cooperatives, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, also spoke during the panel. He is an excellent champion for co-operatives with governments around the world. Thank you to the organizers for putting together such a stimulating panel.
“The greatest enemies of peace are social exclusion and concentration of wealth. Co-operatives prevent this, so co-operatives are a defender of peace. So we should get the Nobel Peace Prize.”
– Erin Hancock