Our Projects and Research Co-ordinator Amanda takes a look at the growing interest surrounding international co-operative development

For a long time, the private sector was not included in the debate around international development activities and aid programmes, which were largely dominated by global governments, donor agencies like the UN and large charities. There has been controversy around promoting corporate involvement in development policy, with critics claiming that whilst large business can use its access to finances and assets to create bigger impact, the downside is that they risk placing profit over poverty reduction and environmental considerations.

However, the private sector has always played an important role in creating sustainable livelihoods, particularly in the small-scale informal enterprise sector in which many rural people operate. There is also an increasing presence of larger private sector organisations working in partnership with the more traditional international development actors, who can often provide more innovative and cost-effective solutions to emerging challenges, such as climate change mitigation and renewable technologies.

Our work... 

Over the past 15 years, we have gained a strong footing in international co-operative development projects, playing a key role across the EU in the drive to get recognition for the important role that co-operatives have in creating sustainable livelihoods around the world.

This has borne fruit in influencing the 2017 European Consensus on Development (ECD) which references co-operatives as important actors in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. The ECD particularly highlights that private sector organisations such as co-operatives are ‘instrumental partners in reaching the most vulnerable and marginalised people’ and acknowledges the inclusive and democratic role of co-operatives in promoting food security and poverty reduction. 

Are you interested in finding out more about international co-operative development? Then our new course is perfect for you! It's a great way to learn more about how the co-operative enterprise approach is transforming lives and communities across the globe. Take a look below.

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