In September, Sarah and I went to Brussels to meet other Co-operatives Europe Development Platform (CEDP) members. The CEDP meets 3-4 times a year to work together on co-operative development issues at both EU and global level. One of the key wins resulting from the group’s recent activities was getting 3 mentions for international co-operative development in the EU Consensus on Development 2017 as a result of group members advocating for policy changes with their EU representatives.

There was also quite a lot of discussion on the creation of an International Co-operative Development Platform based on the success, and recognising the value of, the CEDP. Since first conceptualising the idea of a more global platform at the International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec City in 2016, the CEDP has developed a proposed structure and timeframe for its creation. It has also approached the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) to support the initiative. This will be further discussed and developed with a wider group of invited specialists at the ICA’S Global Conference and General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur in November of this year.

CEDP discussion in meeting room

On the second day of the Brussels meeting, I worked with the research group to feed back the main findings of the research that the college has been commissioned to carry out to analyse the different co-operative development approaches used by CEDP members. This aimed to isolate the ‘cooperative factor’ at work in their international cooperative development activities and explore what makes this approach unique. The outcomes of the research will enable the group to highlight and share good practice, promote partnerships within and outside the group and showcase the advantages of co-operation as a development approach.

What was amazing was to realise the full reach and breadth of experience of the different members of the group. For example, the CEDP members work in over 75 countries globally and work in sectors as diverse as sustainable energy, disaster relief, housing and education. The group has a strong focus on women and young people, promoting marginalised and under-represented groups to ensure that the work we do is equitable and builds the foundations for a sustainable global co-operative movement into the future.

You can read the final report here, whilst there is also an accompanying summary brochure which can be found here!