The Cooperative Movement of the Americas held the XIII Meeting of Parliamentarians and Advocacy Organizations
Within the framework of the parallel activities of the XXI Regional Conference, the Meeting of Parliamentarians and Advocacy Organizations was held, a space that was carried out with the support of the “Cooperatives in Development” programme, co-financed by the European Union on which is under implementation by the International Cooperative Alliance through its Regional Offices
This was a space dedicated to inspiring the leadership of the cooperative sector for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and in a joint work with the National Institute of Cooperative Development (INFOCOOP), public entity responsible for the development of the cooperative sector in Costa Rica, convened representatives from different sectors of organized civil society, mainly Organizations of Promotion, Development, Regulation, Supervision and/ or Cooperative Credit, Parliamentarians of the American region and representatives from the cooperative sector in the Americas region.
It is a reality that one of the challenges of the cooperative sector at a regional level is to find the appropriate channels of incidence at national and supranational level, so that the impact of the sector is recognized by governments in the economic, social and sustainable development sphere, in particular the recognition of the contribution of the cooperative sector on the AGENDA 2030 to the achievement of the SDGs and thus the contribution of the sector will be included in the voluntary national reports made by countries to report to the United Nations on the achievements and challenges in the 2030 Agenda.
During this activity, the President of Cooperatives of the Americas, Graciela Fernández, highlighted the work that has been carried out from the Regional Office of the Americas “the ICA through the program with the European Union is mapping the cooperative legislation in the region. Legislation should be clear about how internal control is carried out and how actors relate between each other. Communication is a very relevant topic on which Cooperatives of the Americas is working in order to exchange good parliamentary practices”.
The General Director of the International Cooperative Alliance, Dr. Bruno Roelants, highlighted the important agreement between ICA and the ILO and the relevance of having included cooperatives in the Declaration for the Future of Work in Geneva, last June.
Gustavo Bernini, president of INACOOP Uruguay and President of the Network, referred to the advances and developments of the cooperative sector in Uruguay: “The work made from the 2030 Agenda, and its inclusion in cooperatives have the advantage of transcending the periods of countries governments and therefore, manages to position strategic issues on long-term political agendas. The law of cooperatives and the development of public policy to promote cooperativism has allowed in Uruguay to triple the number of cooperatives in the last decade”.
Dr. Victoria Hernández Mora, Minister of Economy, Industry and Trade of Costa Rica presented important outcomes of the cooperative model, as a driving force for the economic and social development of her country: “I highlight the cooperative sector of Costa Rica that has a consolidated model in the savings and credit sector, which represents 11% of the financial system, but agricultural and agro-industrial cooperatives also have and important role in the Costa Rican Economy, therefore the cooperative model has led to a good distribution of wealth evidenced by the maturity of the cooperative sector in Costa Rica”.
Representatives of the Promotion, Development, Regulation, Supervision and/or Cooperative Financing Agencies of Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Salvador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru and Agencies at the subnational and local level of Costa Rica participated in this event.
This scenario was a window for Costa Rica, where successful legislative projects were unveiled, as well as the challenges encountered by the host country, Mr. Rodolfo Navas, General Manager of CENECOOP mentioned: “The incorporation of youth and adaptation to change, another challenge is that cooperative legislation has not been comprehensively reviewed and substantive changes are needed. As an example of the minimum number of people to conform a cooperative should decrease. A milestone for Costa Rica is the establishment of a constitutional norm since 1949, which emphasizes the importance of promoting cooperatives”. For his part, Mr. Gustavo Fernández – Executive Director INFOCOOP referred “Cooperatives are part of the country’s development model. The underlying logic of INFOCOOP with its financing model is that the most vulnerable population access INFOCOOP’s resources and then, when they are already strengthened, they become customers of banks.”
During the meeting, the participants spoke on the following topics:
1. The future of work: the world of work is being transformed by technological innovation, demographic change, migration, gender equality, climate change and globalization.
2. Creation of a law for the teaching about cooperatives in the country’s schools. Elements of a new cooperative sector: establishment of innovation and technology committees.
3. The International Cooperative Alliance needs support to articulate with national political actors and influence legislation, Latin America has already made progress, but it should strengthen methods to analyze links with other organizations from the Social Economy.
The event was attended by Dr. Marvin Rodríguez Cordero, Vicepresident of the Republic of Costa Rica, and reaffirmed his commitment to the Social Economy by saying “Cooperatives have the ability to reach the peripheries with services that the State could not bring to the communities at the historical moment when they were born. It is a model that helps reduce social gaps in society. We want economic growth that reduces inequality and improves people’s quality of life, which is why we bet on the Social Economy”.
In the framework of this activity, the important role of the establishment of laws and supervisory measures according to the nature of the cooperative sector was highlighted, respecting cooperative autonomy, and having statistical information to demonstrate the impact cooperative business model in development, as well as its resilience in times of crisis.
At the end of the event, Cooperatives of the Americas through its President and in the presence of the President of the International Cooperative Alliance; Ariel Guarco, presented to the Parliamentarians the protocol of action of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum for the Solidarity Economy of the Americas, a forum created during the Fifth Cooperative Summit of the Americas in Buenos Aires and whose first face-to-face meeting was held during the present meeting in Costa Rica. The Protocol of Action was approved by the parliamentarians members of the forum and it is a roadmap for articulated legislative impact stomping on the promotion of the sector i