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Cooperative Legal Framework Analysis in The Americas

6 April 2020

Cooperative legal frameworks differ from country to country, in some legal systems cooperatives benefit from regulations that recognize their specificities and ensure a level playing field with other types of commercial organizations while in other countries the legislation lacks a specific legal framework for cooperatives or if it exists, it is detrimental to the interests of cooperatives, thus undermining the uniqueness of the model and preventing its development and sustainability.

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) recognizes that knowledge and evaluation of legislation dedicated to cooperatives is a critical tool for regional offices and ICA members, as it helps support their incidence at the global level.

In 2016, the International Cooperative Alliance and the European Commission signed an international cooperation agreement which is implemented through the program “Cooperatives in development: people centered businesses, in action”#COOPS4DEV🌎; This program establishes 8 lines of action: institutional strengthening, visibility and communications, cooperative networking, capacity building for member organizations, knowledge management, project implementation, political dialogue and research.

Under the research line of action, the International Cooperative Alliance is currently implementing an analysis of cooperative legal frameworks in the 109 countries in which its 310 member organizations are distributed, establishing the following objectives:

Acquire general knowledge of national cooperative legislation worldwide.

Evaluate the national legislations covered by the Cooperative Legal Framework Analysis in accordance with the fact that both the existing legal framework is enabling and conducive for cooperatives.

Provide a recommendation from a technical-legal perspective, on possible points of improvement for a renewal of the current cooperative legal frameworks, in search of an environment conducive to the creation and operation of cooperatives.

Said analysis of cooperative legal frameworks in America is being coordinated by Cooperatives of the Americas, under the responsibility of the Research Officer. For operational execution, we have the support of Dr. Dante Cracogna as a Regional Expert who supervises the content of each of the national reports, which are written by legal experts from each country in which the ICA has member organizations in America.

Currently, the national reports of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Uruguay have been completed.

The reports of The United States of America, Haiti, Jamaica and Saint Kitts & Nevis are in the revision stage, while for Honduras and Curaçao the national legal expert is being selected.

All completed national reports are available on the website https://coops4dev.coop/en/c4d-americas.

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