Towards building a coherent strategy of cooperative development in the Andean Region

The ILO has been engaging with cooperatives and rural producers’ organizations in the Andean Region with a view to developing a coherent strategy on cooperative development for decent work in selected countries.

News | 27 March 2019
In the Andean Region, the ILO has been developing a strategy to support the creation of a renewed business environment for cooperative enterprises in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.

The strategy builds on the ILO’s previous work on cooperative development in the Region and an ongoing study of social and solidarity economy organizations in the rural sector, their strengths and weaknesses, and the policy environment in Colombia and Peru.

With regards to the strategy and the study, John Bliek, Enterprises, Cooperatives and Rural Development Specialist of the ILO Office for the Andean Countries held a meeting with President of Confederation of Cooperatives of Colombia (CONFECOOP) Mr Carlos Ernesto Acero Sánchez and Executive Director of Confederation of National Unity of Agricultural Producers of Colombia (CONFENAGROC) Mr Jorge Orlando Rondón Sáenz to discuss potential areas of collaboration. The research in Colombia included a departmental survey of organizations under CONFENAGROC, with a view to understand the opportunities and challenges of producers’ organizations. Findings of the study revealed that only a very few member organizations of CONFENAGROC are cooperatives, but rather include a range of producer associations that fall under the wider umbrella of the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

In the meeting, the role of the ILO in connecting and involving different public and private stakeholders to design coherent and effective policies on cooperative development was acknowledged. It was noted that such policies should include: 1) capacity building for leaders of cooperatives and other SSE organizations using ILO’s training tools (e.g. My.Coop, Think.Coop and Start.Coop); 2) production of statistics on cooperatives; and 3) guidance on emerging questions about cooperatives in the Andean Region, such as provision of social services through cooperatives and participation of young people in cooperatives.