The authorities of the Confederation spoke about the history, diversity and integration experiences in the sector in our country during the conferences that bring together over 3000 leaders from around the world, in Quebec City.
“Jointly we can work and empower ourselves, we represent 10% of GDP but we know that if we buy all the supplies we need from the hands of cooperatives we can double that percentage,” said the president of the Cooperative Confederation of Argentine Republic (Cooperar), Ariel Guarco, during his presentation at the panel about the role of cooperatives in industry, services and energy -co-organized by the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Services Producers’ Cooperatives (CICOPA) and the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA) in the international summit of cooperatives, which is held every two years in the Canadian city of Québec.
“We have shown that small local cooperatives are viable, if we consolidate efficient networks,” said Guarco, who also heads Fedecoba in Buenos Aires Province and is a member in the International Cooperative Alliance Board, as well as President of Cooperar.
In the discussion that he shared with representatives of NRECA (United States), Mondragon Group (Basque Country), CG SCOP (France) and Coopfond (Italy) he considered as a key point “the strategic coordination with Governments, maintaining their autonomy and identity” and encouraged to make visible cooperatives “as instruments of local development, leading it, transforming communities where cooperatives are present.”
In summary, he stressed that “the main challenge for each cooperative is to achieve the necessary balance between proximity with partners in each territory and development to insert themselves in a competitively way in the value chain. For this purpose in our experience there are different institutional models they have shown successful. ”
Finally, he pointed that this kind of summits have to aim to “raise the voice of cooperatives” but warned that it is necessary to have own media for that, which implies a “strong commitment to the democratization of the word.”
At his time, the treasurer of the Confederation, José Orbaiceta, reaffirmed the integration experience of Argentine cooperatives and, as an example, he mentioned the experience of the Graphic Cooperative Network, made up of self-managed printers looking to improve overall conditions of production and commercialization.
“We were born of solidarity and joint between the graphic union and a number of cooperative federations. In an isolated way we could not compete, but together we try to address common challenges”, he said.
He also sent his support to the President of the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives (Cicopa) in North America, Rebecca Kemble, who was arrested for being part of a protest by indigenous communities in South Dakota against the construction of a pipeline that will affect the environment.
In another instance of the Summit, Ricardo López, Secretary in Cooperar and President of the Argentine Federation of Solidarity Entities of Health (Faess), attended the meeting of the International Health Cooperatives Organization (IHCO), along with representatives from Brazil, Japan, Canada, Italy and Spain. He was also part of the Alliance Gender Equality Committee Plenary Meeting, where Maria Eugenia Pérez Zea, from Colombia, was re-elected as president of the Committee.
Guarco, López and the argentine youth representative -and president of the Alliance’s Youth Network- Gabriela Buffa participated on Monday 10th in the Alliance Board Meeting and the General Assembly of the International Cooperative Alliance.
“Inequality is the result of how we structure the market”
The world-renowned Economist and Nobel Prize Joseph Stiglitz said that “inequality is the result of how we structure the market” and said that “an economy that doesn’t meet the needs of the majority, is not good”. In addition, he deepened: “Neoliberalism is based on a wrong theory. The richest 1% has the same wealth that the other 90%. The cooperative model is an alternative way of organizing the economy and society.”
At the end of his presentation, Stiglitz talked with Guarco about the importance of organizations in the social sector of the economy and the necessary balance between the traditional private sector, the public sector and the sector of the social economy, including cooperatives and non-profit organizations.
The International Summit of Cooperatives aims to be a benchmark event for the development of business in the cooperative and mutualist community by offering administrators, decision makers and leaders of these businesses area, a forum for reflection, discussion, consultation and training in the dominant trends and current and future challenges.