Development cooperation continues to be an active part of the agenda of Social Economy enterprises and their representative organisations. Social Economy is based on the values of solidarity, participation and responsible business activity that benefit the general interest of people. Thus, its economic development business is especially suited and ideal to achieving the objectives of cooperation policies. The added value of Social Economy in development cooperation also comes from its ability to generate a business fabric that responds to the social and economic needs of people. People, who collectively take the initiative of starting an economic project to favour local development and social cohesion in rural areas or in areas that are geographically far from the centres of power and which, generally, provide few living opportunities for their population.
The Directing Plans that set the strategic priorities of Spanish Development Cooperation acknowledge Social Economy undertakings as one of the agents of policies that foster economic growth towards reducing poverty.
The activity of Spanish Social Economy enterprises and institutions in Development Cooperation is evidenced by the fact that out of the 47.8 million Euros allocated between 1998 and 2016, the Social Economy sector co-financed 26.5% of this amount, 12.6 million Euros.
Social Economy organisations and undertakings linked to CEPES are carrying out projects in 43 countries. These projects focus on generating employment for women, persons with a disability and other vulnerable groups, supporting their enterprising abilities through training and advice programmes. These organisations are also contributing to foster micro-loans to start Social Economy undertakings and micro-undertakings.
These projects generate wealth at a local level and Social Economy enterprises become the drivers of economic development in rural areas and in disadvantaged urban areas. Through a variety of projects, these undertakings can guarantee access to basic services such as education or health wherever the Public Administrations cannot reach.
All of this expertise is collected in the report prepared by CEPES in regard to the experience of Spanish Social Economy in development cooperation.
Some of the results of the impact that Social Economy has on Cooperation:
CEPES AS A SOCIAL AGENT IN COOPERATION
CEPES, as the representative employers’ organisation for Social Economy, is working towards Social Economy enterprises being taken into account in the State cooperation and development policies. It takes part in the Development Cooperation Council and organises activities to increase the contribution of Social Economy to cooperation and to raise awareness of this. Contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC, in the Spanish abbreviation) has enabled Social Economy proposals to be transferred to the European and international sphere, as reflected in these relevant documents:
Reference documents regarding Development Cooperation of interest to Social Economy are available here: Public Documents – Development Cooperation.