This year the International Cooperative Alliance is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the ICA Statement of the Cooperative Identity. In the current scenario, the cooperative identity is necessary to promote our projects and position ourselves in a world full of challenges, uncertainties and problems that must be solved urgently.
But the cooperative identity does not remain static and immutable. Cooperatives are rooted in their territories, and they are the living expression of the self-organisation of each community.
The pandemic has highlighted and accentuated these conditions, both expressions of solidarity and conflicts and inequalities.
I am convinced that only by cooperating can we get out of this enormous health, economic and social crisis.
And we can do it precisely because we have an identity that allows us to recognise ourselves and act under the same principles.
We know that there are three million cooperatives around the world, with more than one billion members, who are betting on this cooperative model at this moment.
Cooperatives are producing goods and providing services that allow the sustainability of life throughout the planet.
ICA is the hub for all cooperatives, and we know of the great effort cooperatives make to respond to the needs of their members in the most essential areas.
Today the world is seeing the cooperative identity in action, its scope and its potential. We are seeing how our cooperative values and principles are expressed in each territory, with the complexities of each scenario where we have to intervene.
And above all, we are showing that a fairer, more caring and more inclusive world is possible.
Finally, and given that anniversaries also serve to remember how we have shaped our identity over time, I want to emphasise that the cooperative identity we know today is the result of participatory, open and democratic processes.
Twenty five years ago, in Manchester, more than 1,200 representatives from 90 countries debated and agreed on the Statement of the Cooperative Identity that we are now celebrating.
Today we reflect on it again, in the light of the enormous global transformations over the last few decades.
The cooperative identity must be a mirror where we can look at ourselves, and an invitation to act with more solidarity every day, in a more responsible and sustainable way.
This is an invitation to debate on the role we want to play in the face of the great challenges that humanity is facing.
A world that needs cooperation to get ahead, not in any way, but better.