Ariel Guarco has been elected president of the International Co-operative Alliance. The election took place at the International Co-operative Alliance’s General Assembly, a biennial event, held this year in Malaysia.
From a total of 691 total votes, Mr Guarco received 671. Mr Guarco said: “It is a tremendous honour to be elected president of the Alliance. Our movement includes one billion people across the world. The Alliance needs to be the lighthouse that guides them. “The global context requires us to go out on the pitch wearing the co-operative shirt and confront warmongering, speculators and those controlling the economy, who are taking humanity on a road without return, with our coherence, trajectory, and diversity.”
Mr Guarco is president of Cooperar, the Co-operative Confederation of Argentina, and has been a board member of the Alliance since 2013. Cooperar works with 67 co-operative federations, 5,000 co-operatives, and ten million members.
Mr Guarco comes from a family of co-operators, his mother had worked for her local village’s electric co-op. After joining the co-op and holding various positions, Mr Guarco was elected president. He continued to progress and later became president of the federation of public service co-operatives of Buenos Aires (Fedecoba). He still presides over the Buenos Aires Electric Cooperative Federation.
“Cooperatives are enterprises that have a double function, on the one hand they must be economically viable, compete in the market and do it as good or better than enterprises that seek profitability as the ultimate goal. And on the other hand, to be socially responsible, helping to improve the quality of life of our members and faithful to our principle of commitment to the community, to society as a whole, “said Mr Guarco. You can access the full speech of the President of the Alliance here
He says his priorities at the Alliance will be to strengthen the interactions between its regional and sectoral organisations, as well as consolidating youth and gender spaces. He also wants to improve the quality and quantity of information given to members on income, balance sheets, and projects – and in doing so, empower organisations when it comes to decision-making. All his proposals are explained on his website.
Mr Guarco takes over from Monique Leroux, who led the Alliance since 2015. During her leadership, the Alliance sought to make the co-operative movement’s voice heard in international forums and at major economic gatherings. Co-ops were represented by the Alliance at various events including B20 meetings, the International Economic Forum of the Americas’ Conference in Montreal and high-level events at the United Nations, the Business 20 (B20). A full report on her term is available here.
Ms Leroux said: “It was my great privilege to spend the past four years working with a devoted and committed board of directors that feels so strongly about advancing co-operative businesses. The Alliance is certainly in a decent position to continue moving towards objectives that, ultimately, will help make our world a better place.”
The Alliance’s Global Conference and General Assembly brought together more than 1,800 co-operators from around the world to discuss the role of the sector in placing people at the centre of development. Keynote speakers included sustainable development pioneer and former Prime Minister of Norway, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, and economist Linda Yueh.