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Cooperative Development Policy

Recently the government of Curacao adopted a new Cooperative Development Policy (CDP). This new CDP is the first in the history of the Curaçao cooperative movement. In addition to new approaches and financial resources necessary for their implementation, support measures are introduced that are specifically adapted to the cooperative environment. By recognizing that cooperatives can play a central role in the economy and tackle the specific problems they face, the new policy guarantees the harmonious development of cooperatives in Curaçao.

The CDP’s  main goal is to reaffirm the distinctive character of cooperatives in the light of the economic and social challenges Curaçao is facing. This policy is also in line with the recommendations of the International Labor Organization (ILO), as issued in June 2002, in which cooperatives are supported. The ILO suggested that governments “should provide a supportive policy and legal framework consistent with the nature and function of cooperatives and guided by the cooperative values and principles set out by the International Cooperative Alliance” (recommendation 193, ILO 2002). With this CDP, the government of Curaçao has demonstrated its determination to support cooperatives so that these companies can position themselves firmly in the face of the major challenges they face, so that they can contribute even more to job creation and prosperity. The policy aims to expand the position of cooperatives in Curaçao’s economy.

The promotion of cooperatives is not to be viewed in isolation from wider national development policies and programs. The government is conscious of the link between cooperative development policy and other national development plans into which cooperative development policy should be integrated. The promotion of cooperatives is considered one of the aspects of national economic and social development.

The policy document is the result of an intensive consultation process, which was initiated in May 2019 when the Curaçao government adopted a Ministerial Decreed for the establishment of a multidisciplinary Task Team. The ministries work inter-ministerial and with private organizations to get the work done. This process involved the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Environment and Nature, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Ministry of Social Development, Labor and Welfare, ADECK and FEKOSKAN. The responsibility for the cooperative development policy lies at the Ministry of Economic Development (MED).

Among others, the Multi-Disciplinary Task Team organized four workshops and one National Democratic Dialogue. The democratic dialogue (DD) was used to gather input and define priorities for the policy.

The medium and long-term strategic actions are:

1. Introduce an effective and innovative legal framework.
2. Enhance cooperative education, training, and information.
3. Develop or improve capitalization and financing tools suitable for the cooperative environment.
4. Improve non-financial business support services available to cooperatives.
5. Acknowledge the role of cooperatives by integrating and harmonizing government action in the area of cooperative development.
6. Enhance regulation for financial cooperatives.
7. Promote research and innovation in the cooperative sector.
8. Enhance use of appropriate technology in cooperatives.
9. Adopt good cooperative governance practices.
10. Attract youth into the cooperative movement.
11. Create demand for cooperative products and services.