At the end of January, Dr Sarah Alldred and Dr Amanda Benson from the Co-operative College attended the Cooperatives Europe Development Platform (CEDP) meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. The CEDP is a European network of co-operative organisations active in international co-operation which was created in 2008. As members of Cooperatives Europe they work together on issues of development policy and development implementation, and come from countries across the EU. CEDP members come from diverse sectors, such as energy, finance, education and law, and share their expertise in these complementary fields to better inform and strengthen each other’s work and to work together on joint projects.
The meeting in Stockholm was a great opportunity to work with European partners on increasing the impact of the CEDP by developing joint research around the methods each of these diverse organisations use in co-operative development in the context of international development. The College is going to be working with partners from Denmark, Italy and Belgium to shine a light on the different methods used by all of the different organisations which make up the partnership to tease out best practice and share ideas. The eventual aim is to develop a shared toolkit for co-operative development. The EU organisations which make up the CEDP partnership work in a range of countries on a huge variety of issues and with many different groups of people. By combining their knowledge and experience this will enable the group to strengthen their work, bringing enormous benefits not only to themselves as organisations, but also to their field staff and the people they work with around the world.
The meeting in Stockholm also discussed carrying out an examination and comparison of the different legal frameworks for co-operatives which exist in different countries. A meaningful analysis of the different legal structures for co-operatives is thought to be essential so that best practice can be shared and used to influence policy in developing countries where the legal environment does not currently support co-operative development. The overall aim of the programme is to strengthen institutions globally to increase the visibility and influence of co-operatives as an empowering business model which addresses many of the Sustainable Development Goals.