Cooperatives and the World of Work Series No. 5

A cooperative way for empowering indigenous peoples

The cooperative principles, along with the directed focus of Recommendation No. 193 on inclusion, sustainability and addressing the needs of the community, align closely with the principles that underline the rights of indigenous peoples.

Cooperatives are founded on and committed to values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity, among others. These values enable young people and women as well as those who are often marginalized to participate meaningfully in decision-making processes, receive training, and adequately benefit from socio-economic processes.

In both Convention No. 169 and UNDRIP, principles of consultation and participation, cooperation for overall economic development, respect for traditional institutions as well as the right to decide the priorities for the process of development are of significance with regard to cooperatives.

The intersection between the international legal framework of indigenous peoples’ rights and the principles that guide cooperatives open up new avenues for collaboration through which they can reinforce each other. Cooperatives can play a vital role in securing and protecting indigenous peoples’ rights while integrating decent work opportunities for a sustainable and inclusive process of development for indigenous peoples.