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Contribution of co-operatives to world peace: the example of Colombia

30 September 2014

Through the Alliance, the global co-operative movement is claiming a greater role in defining the content and implementation of the UN’s post-2015 agenda. One of the 12 objectives proposed by the High Level Group on the Post-2015 Agenda for Development, established by the Secretary General of United Nations, is to "ensure stable and peaceful societies." Rwanda, Nepal, Lebanon and parts of India are some of the cases where co-operatives have shown their potential as relevant, timely and durable solutions to many of the difficulties encountered in post-conflict processes. Now it is the time of Colombia.

The 2014 is a special year for Colombia as it moves toward the signing of a peace agreement and the groundwork is being laid for a new path to the economic and social development of the country for the next 20 or 30 years.

In mid-2014, the Colombian Association of Co-operatives, Ascoop, convened a conference entitled "A country in peace and development: lessons from the Colombian co-operative movement", which convened a panel of experts to analyse the potential of co-operatives to promote economic and social development in the process of building a new country in the post-conflict era.

Ms Olga Lucia Londoño, Superintendent of the Social Economy has stated that "In the co-operative sector there is no social exclusion and as the post-conflict comes, the sector will open its doors to contribute to social inclusion, financial inclusion and to supporting productive projects."

Meanwhile, the High Commissioner for Peace, Sergio Jaramillo, also noted that the Government’s vision suggests that the process of peace in Colombia will require the creation and promotion of all types of associative experiences and what is expected from the co-operative sector is not only active participation but also guidance on how to implement these initiatives in the best possible way.