The final declaration of the IV Cooperative Summit of the Americas focused on the growing inequality generated by global financial capitalism and the role that associative companies must play, transforming that reality into a truly sustainable development.

 Transforming the direction of society from the associativism was the slogan proclaimed at the close of this IV Cooperative Summit of the Americas, which brought together in Montevideo during 5 days, 1250 executives from all over the continent to discuss and to assume development strategies that deepen democracy at local and international level.

In the diagnosis, they noted that several countries of the continent are suffering the “return of neoliberal expressions” which, along with the “global economic slowdown,” complicates the region, after a bit more than decade of “significant progress in terms of conquest of right, poverty reduction and redistribution of wealth”. Meanwhile, globally, “those who prooted globalization, today are talking about protectionism.”

The worrying process of economic concentration, wich shows that 1% concentrates more wealth than the remaining 99% of the world’s population, attributed this to the “enormous imbalances of power on global scale”, which “greatly exceeded” the role of national states and intergovernmental spaces.

In the statement, it was mention that “dispute these processes of concentration and reach societies closer to the aspirations of the international cooperative movement, in terms of welfare for all the world population, implies the dispute for the slices of power that today the transnational capital groups concentrate”.

For that, they warned that cooperatives should not be swayed by competitive market pressures, which leads in many cases to processes of de-mutualization, but to fight for public “coherent legal and policy frameworks with the deepening of democracy and contrary to the capital hegemony”.

“There is no development effectively sustainable if it is not also deeply democratic, if it is led by the financial capital hub or if the engine of the economy is the unbridled desire for the profit of the most powerful economic groups.”

According to the document approved on 17th of November by the Regional Assembly -wich was read one day later, at the close of the Summit- co-operatives are part of local, national, regional and global development by providing food, housing, services, decent employment, constant innovation and adaptation and with strong community roots, for what they are “a model of life that allows economic, social and environmental sustainable development”.

However, they recognized that they should not do it independently, but that alliances with other actors of organized civil society, with other social movements, with universities and with States must be done.

Finally, the declaration of Cooperatives of the Americas emphasized that “the social and solidarity economy must be a project of transformation not only of the most vulnerable sectors,” and called for “deepening the leading role of cooperatives” in this project.

During the five days, more than one hundred leaders of the Argentine cooperative movement took part and pronounced into the different spaces of debate the positions of the Cooperative Confederation of the Argentine Republic (Cooperar) and other national entities members of the International Co-operative Alliance.

Cooperar’ President and Second Vice-President of Cooperatives of the Americas, Ariel Guarco, moderated a keynote speech about the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and noted that cooperatives should focus on inter-cooperation and territorial integration to achieve results that benefit them as an expression of their communities.

Before the closing ceremony, former Uruguayan President José Pepe Mujica said that “the world is sick not only of poverty but of chronic inequality” and urged to strengthen the solidarity economy to reverse that situation. “While others globalize their private interest, we have to globalize solidarity”, he said.

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