Legal framework


It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Colombia.



Current regulations, lead toward the principles, foundations and rights established within the National Constitution of 1991, however, the normative framework has a multidisciplinary regulation that precedes the new Constitutional Charter, Law 79 from 1988 by means of which the cooperative legislation is updated and which to date remains active and is the legal basis of the cooperative movement.

After the creation of the Constitutional Charter from 1991, the country recognized the entirety of the actors that converge in the ecosystem of a solidarity economy, as such, Law 454 from 1998 is established. This is the legal framework that updates and modifies some concepts and scopes within Law 79 from 1988 but does NOT repeal it, leaving it to stand firmly and with full autonomy for the cooperative movement.

Cooperatives in Colombia are regulated in the national legislation and have been framed within fundamental principles of the State reflected both in the constitutional objectives, as well as laws and regulatory decrees that have allowed the creation, coordination and monitoring of cooperatives in the country.


Cooperative Friendliness

As for members and reports from participating cooperatives, it has been identified that existing national legislation has more barriers than benefits, i.e. it turns out to be more against the cooperative movement in the country than in its favor. This is due, in part, to the lack of a strong institution with coherent functions and current practices that strengthen the cooperative movement within the country and that is under a relevant structure in decision making, for example, one that exists under the outline of the Presidency of the Republic.


Key recommendations for improvement

There have been institutional changes for the sector that need to be generated as soon as possible. Institutional strengthening must be an immediate priority, where the entity that carries out the promotion and implementation of public policy in the sector is dependent on the Presidency of the Republic. The creation of an affiliated department that can generate incidence is necessary, one that can carry out inter-institutional coordination to benefit the sector, that generates technical guidelines for the strengthening of the ecosystem and that has its own budget to promote the cooperative movement, the development of studies and technical documents to create policy guidelines, projects and programs that would benefit the ecosystem.



A measurement compounded of variables that can be evaluated annually to analyse the characteristics of the sector is considered necessary, for example: New cooperatives in Colombia, number of affiliates, type of affiliates, economic sectors and sample of the ecosystem, services offered and provided, among others, can help to better visualize the applicability of the regulation and growth of the ecosystem.

Advance towards the modernization of the normative, recognizing the nature of the sector as an inclusion factor, productive transformation and social change, that guarantees security and legal stability, taking Resolution 56/114 from the UN General Assembly of 2001 and Recommendation No. 193 of 2002 of the ILO as reference regarding the Promotion of Cooperatives.


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