Twelve co-operators from Europe and the Americas took part in the first regional seminar for Latin America of the Policy Forum on Development.
The seminar, jointly organised by the European Commission and Latin American civil society organisations, aimed to underline EU and global policies for development as well as help reach a common understanding of how development policies can support civil society organisations.
The Policy Forum on Development was officially launched in November last year to strengthen the dialogue with civil society organisations, which is one of the objectives mentioned in the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union.
Manuel Mariño, director of Co-operatives of the Americas and Marc Nöel, co-operative development manager at Cooperatives Europe also participated in the discussion.
Mr Mariño said that the sector was very thankful for the recognition given to the contribution of co-operative enterprises in the European Commission’s Communication on private Sector in Development. The document mentions the important role of co-operatives in creating decent work and development, both as private sector actors and part of the civil society.
“We also appreciate that empowering women as entrepreneurs is considered a priority in the Commission’s document, as well as the reference made to informal economy and the possibility of transitioning to the formal economy, in which we think the co-operative model can play a very important role,” he said, adding that the document had however failed to refer to the inclusion of young people.
Mr Marino also highlighted that co-operatives have over 150 years of existence, during which they have been contributing to inclusive and sustainable development at all levels.
He added: “It is important that the EU is committed to engaging with private sector actors like co-operatives and not just big companies owned by a few shareholders or other players that do not promote democratic ownership or participation”, he added.
Marc Nöel also said: “We are satisfied with the way the Policy Forum on Development is working. Collaborating with European organisations and making the most of these networks enables us to communicate more efficiently and effective”.
Photo: first regional seminar for Latin America of the Policy Forum on Development.