Joint Advocacy

AUN's Joint Advocacy for Cooperatives

Methodological note for Joint Advocacy

The study is planned into three parts, through which the scope of Joint Advocacy will be evaluated. The first part constitutes of evidence-based research and analysis of the challenges faced by cooperatives of the global south and overview of the recommendations for overcoming those challenges, which forms this initial report in a summarized manner. The second part of the study will comprise of a sector-wise research laying emphasis on the financial sector or the cooperative banking. An finally, the third part will be covering the sectors capable of competing in the open market with a competitive approach.

This first part was initiated from November 2021 and includes the analysis of publications, sustainability reports and interviews with the representatives of different cooperatives from Latin America, Africa and Asia. It also included the discussions with some members of the ILO Social and Solidarity Economy and the ICA. Some insights also gained from the discussions that took place at the World Cooperative Congress on 30th November 2021 in Seoul, South Korea.

Advocacy Unified Network – AUN’s volunteers gathered information and data available from the cooperative’s websites. Wherever available, they consulted the latest annual and financial reports and extracted the available data for analysis. In addition, AUN formulated a questionnaire in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish to take individual feedback from representatives of 18 different cooperatives from the Global South through semi-structured interviews.  The interview questions included questions on how they contribute, report, and communicate on sustainable development and expectations for future directions based on their own understanding and communication. The objective was also to explore how the cooperatives of the Global South contribute to the SDGs and report and communicate on them, as well as learn what they expect from AUN for future strategic priorities. Provided the time constraints for this study, a snapshot for 2019-2021 is taken into consideration. The legal status of the institution was given utmost importance.

Background

Year 2012, was declared as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) by the United Nations General Assembly on theme “Cooperative enterprises build a better world”, recognizing the contribution of cooperatives in socio‐economic development, identifying their role in poverty reduction, employment generation and offering opportunities of social integration. The United Nations through its resolution A/RES/64/136 encouraged all member States, and all relevant stakeholders to take advantage of the IYC to promote cooperatives and raise awareness of their contribution to social and economic development and to promote the formation and growth of cooperatives. The three main goals for the International Year of Cooperatives were:

  • Increase public awareness about cooperatives and their contributions to socio‐ economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
  • Promote the establishment and growth of cooperatives
  • Encourage Governments to establish policies, laws and regulation conducive to the establishment, growth and stability of cooperatives, International Organizations (IOs), especially the development agencies, have a vital role to play to provide support for the development of cooperatives through technical assistance and other development aid instruments.

However, little is known about the International Organizations actual policies and programs for the development of cooperatives in recipient countries for instance in regard to promotion, formation and development of cooperatives in agricultural and service and financial sectors. Cooperatives in Global South, in particular, need enabling environments in order to be competitive and sustainable and be given access to trade opportunities. This short article takes a first step in highlighting this gap and provides references as to the IOs current support for the development of cooperatives in Global South.

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