Cooperative enterprises, as membership based, autonomous, independent democratic, collective institutional arrangements have enhanced inclusive development especially for those living in remote areas and in vulnerable communities. There is ample evidence from Africa to the Americas as to their effectiveness in improving access of small producers to markets, delivering a range of much needed services (financial, housing, social services). The key drivers of their success has been their needs based nature - joint solutions to common problems for a group of people that create economies of scale and allow for negotiation through collective voice. Specific measures needed include: enabling legal and policy environment, integration of cooperatives in public and private procurement of services and the recognition of the cooperative business model in achieving development goals. However, the MDGs have largely ignored cooperatives missing the opportunity for broadening and deepening their political, social and economic participation through their members, often those living in poverty and experiencing other forms of exclusion. So far in the discussions around the post 2015 sustainable development discussions, cooperatives are once again absent in terms of acknowledging their contributions, including them in the targets, indicators and bringing on the cooperative movement representatives in to the decision making process. The ILO's Recommendation 193 (2002) on the Promotion of Cooperatives provides the international standard on the effective integration of cooperatives into sustainable development policy making. Cooperatives are a business model whose time has come. We need to integrate these collective democratic enterprises into our policy and programmatic interventions for ensuring better results. Simel Esim, www.ilo.org/coop
Source: this post (March 2, 2014) in the global Discussion "2014 AMR Part II (17 February - 2 March): Sustaining development gains through inclusive development."