Our cooperative movement is called upon to be a protagonist in the post-pandemic recovery process and the formulation of local responses to global challenges in the defense of the planet, peace and sustainable development.
Our proposal for the next four years is to continue advancing in three Strategic Objectives and to move forward with the development of a New Governance Model.
1) Promoting Cooperative Identity as the best path towards sustainable development.
Drawing from the debate in the 2021 World Cooperative Congress, we are working on strengthening our Cooperative Identity, promoting our model as the best suited for Sustainable Development and the most committed to the social transformation it requires.
With this conviction, we are called to advance in the following actions:
Financing. Advocate for international organizations, national states and financial system regulations to facilitate and prioritize funding companies whose governance is compatible with sustainable development.
Future of Work. Promote legal frameworks and public policies aimed at providing cooperative responses to problems such as unemployment and precarious work, particularly in care, green, rural and digital economies, including the defense and promotion of associative work models, companies reconversion and employment promotion for youth and vulnerable groups.
Food system. Promote the transformation of the food system as a key to sustainable development, based on territorial work coordinated among different cooperative models of producers, consumers and workers.
Digital transformation. Develop a Digital Creation and Transformation Strategic Framework to help members navigate this process, including cooperative platforms, data governance, software and infrastructure development.
Climate change. Encourage cooperatives to take on an active commitment to the transformation of the production and consumption models that climate change demands. Call for the prioritization of funding for cooperative projects linked to this challenge, including objectives such as carbon neutrality, clean energy production and distribution, circular economy and biodiversity preservation.
Housing. On the basis that cooperative housing projects focus on the needs of families, as an alternative to models that profit from real estate speculation and financial usury, work in dialogue with governments and between housing, savings and credit, work, energy services, telecommunications and insurance cooperatives, among others.
Health. Promote the cooperative model as an organizational tool in the health sector that protects professionals, strengthens health systems and contributes to Universal Health Coverage, especially in low and middle income countries.
Education. Strengthen training and education systems for ICA members and promote the incorporation of cooperative education in formal educational systems, including the promotion of school cooperatives.
Local Development Network. Develop a Cooperative Cities Global Network, drawing from existing experiences in different countries (Argentina, Spain, United Kingdom, South Korea, etc.).
Declaration of Identity. Reflecting on the conclusions arrived at by the 33rd Congress, advance in the consolidation of our Cooperative Identity, supporting the work of the Cooperative Identity Advisory Group.
Gender Equity. Continue incorporating gender perspective into all initiatives promoted by the ICA, in line with Sustainable Development Goal number five and in dialogue with UN Women and all international entities devoted to this issue.
Youth. Encourage networking between Regions and Sectors and the Youth Committee in order to promote the cooperative model, in particular among those most committed and concerned with digital, green and circular economy.
Legal framework. Set up ICA Dialogue Round Tables with national governments and parliaments in coordination with members from each country to promote the legal reforms required to facilitate cooperative development.
Peace. Promote concrete actions for Peace, within the precepts of the Kigali Declaration for Positive Peace: the socioeconomic inclusion of displaced peoples, cooperation in post-conflict contexts and promotion of inter-cooperative trade as a basis for the advancement of peaceful relations.
2) Increase the levels of advocacy in international and multilateral bodies.
In a continuation of the permanent dialogue with international cooperation system organizations, efforts will be made to strengthen the links through ICA sectoral organizations and consolidate work agendas related to the recognition of the cooperative model as the one better suited for sustainable development.
ILO – Cooperativism, Social and Solidarity Economy. Support cooperative promotion policies developed by ILO since its constitution, currently within the principles of its 193/2002 Recommendation, and lead policy implementation for the recognition and promotion of social and solidarity economy, in consonance with the United Nations Inter-institutional Working Group on the Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE).
ILO – Associative Work. Through CICOPA, reinforce dialogue with ILO towards the effective recognition of associative work as a particular employment relationship that requires specific regulations to guarantee the protection of labor rights as well as their incorporation into health and safety systems.
FAO – IFAD. Strengthen work with FAO and IFAD by means of greater networking between ICAO, CCW, ICFO and the regions through their own agricultural networks, in order to support the transformation process discussed at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, in compliance with the SDGs.
WHO. Based on the experience of the pandemic along with active participation of the IHCO, strengthen dialogue with WHO in order to further collaboration between cooperative and public health promotion systems.
Multilateral Development Bank. Through ICBA, ICMIF, CHI and the regions, strengthen ties with multilateral development banks to facilitate funding for cooperatives and channel financing through cooperative entities.
Partnership. Work on a new ICA-EU Partnership to develop the second stage of the Cooperatives for Development Program.
World Cooperative Monitor (WCM). Expand the scope of the WCM, as it enters its second decade of activity, seeking to measure the economic, social and environmental impact, as well as the contribution to peace, of the cooperative movement as a whole in its different models and in each of its communities.
3) Reinforce institutional and economic integration between the different actors of the cooperative movement at a global level.
Intercooperation. Increase the volume of inter-cooperative business by mobilizing capabilities, resources and strategies through the development or consolidation of ethical value chains, with innovation processes that improve the competitive advantage of our companies.
Regional Integration. Identify and promote experiences of integration within regions and between members of different regions that facilitate the development of value chains on a regional or global scale, with triple impact and balanced governance.
Intersectoral Integration. Promote the creation of favorable environments for a greater synergy between different sectors (production-consumption, banking-production, insurance-habitat, energy-habitat, work-health, etc.), in a process led by the ICA Sectoral Organizations and coordinated with the regions.
Integration with SSE. Consolidate links with other international organizations of the Social and Solidarity Economy, based on what was discussed and proposed at the 2021 World Cooperative Congress.
International Cooperation. Strengthen Cooperative Platforms for Development, systematizing the relationship between members of the ICA and sources of financing for development.
Disaster response. Based on the experiences presented at the WCC 2021, promote the exchange of experiences and training on cooperative disaster response, taking into account climate change as a context in which disaster or catastrophe situations are bound to increase.
Good practices. Develop spaces that promote connection, information exchange, and business and institutional advice among ICA members, allowing the circulation of good practices and models of cooperative success.
ICETT. Strengthen the International Cooperative Entrepreneurship Think Tank as the strategic center that offers ICA members useful information to boost cooperative business performance and position the cooperative movement as a key player in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
NEW GOVERNANCE MODEL
The stated objectives increasingly demand a participatory Governance Model, with a growing role for the Regions, Sectors and Committees.
In particular, we will promote that Regions, Sectors and Committees take on direct political and operational responsibilities in each of the ICA’s actions and strategic objectives.
We will strongly support the initiative to expand the participation of sectoral organizations in the ICA World Council, increasing their number from four to eight, which will require a reform of the Statute.
In the same vein, regional and sectoral organizations and committees will be prioritized in the planning and monitoring of the Strategic Plan and in ICA relationships with governments and international organizations.
Strengthening the role of women and youth in this governance model is a priority. This means consulting the respective committees not only on thematically specific points, but rather on all issues in the ICA’s work agenda, and promoting the training of political and technical cadres to guarantee their leading participation in each area of work.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR
Our proposal was to conduct the International Cooperative Alliance collectively and with ample participation from all members.
For that purpose:
As president, I visited more than 50 countries, coming into direct contact with more than half of the members, and kept in touch virtually with multiple assemblies and meetings during the isolation period caused by the pandemic.
In order to have a real diagnosis of the situation, we carried out two massive membership surveys, with an unprecedented level of response that allowed us to make progress in the participatory development of the Second Plan for a Cooperative Decade (2020-2030).
A reorganization of the internal structure took place in order to better respond to the Organization needs. Directors of Finance, Legislation, and Statistics were appointed, and there was greater and better interaction with the EU joint project staff.
The International Association of Cooperative Banks (ICBA) was reactivated after several years of inactivity. Likewise, ICAO’s functioning was strengthened and both saw a considerable increase in the number of participants.
The empowerment of women was an area of focus in our movement, as well as ensuring their representation and participation in international organizations. The incorporation of an African representative in the Committee was promoted.
The Communication Committee became operative, thus promoting work in this area and achieving, among other results, the complete renovation of our website, an exponential increase in followers on social media, a better performance of newsletter mailing (Members Brief, Coop Insider, etc) and the historic filming of #AroundTheWorld audiovisual documentaries, as part of the coop4dev program.
Together with EURICSE, we renewed the World Cooperative Monitor, which has released ten issues showing the cooperative potential in the world and continues refining the methodology to reflect not only the economic but also the social and environmental impact of our business model.
We organized celebrations for the International Day of Cooperatives, with a strong impact within the movement and excellent repercussions from world leaders such as the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres; the ILO director general, Guy Ryder; and His Holiness Pope Francis.
COOPERATION BETWEEN COOPERATIVES
The International Cooperative Entrepreneurship Think Tank (ICETT) was created: the first Cooperative Think Tank, which allows major entities from different regions and sectors to be integrated within ICA in order to further cooperative impact on issues such as the future of work, human rights in value chains, WCM and SDG 13, and Cooperative Identity and Competitive Advantage.
Three major international events were held successfully:
World General Assembly: in 2018, in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in the context of the V Cooperative Summit of the Americas, which brought together more than 1,500 cooperative members and representatives of organizations and institutions linked to cooperatives, from more than 50 countries.
World General Assembly: in 2019, in Kigali (Rwanda), with the participation of more than 1,000 cooperative members from more than 80 countries, where we highlighted our commitment to Peace through the Declaration on Positive Peace.
The 33rd World Cooperative Congress: in 2021, in Seoul (South Korea), where we set out to deepen our Cooperative Identity, held for the first time as a hybrid meeting, in a pandemic context, with more than a thousand face-to-face participants and more than six hundred joining remotely from over 80 countries, as well as representatives of governments and international organizations.
PUBLIC POLICIES AND ADVOCACY
Extensive work was done on advocacy policies at international level, especially in the United Nations system. In this period of almost 4 years, the ICA strengthened its relations with different international organizations:
The G20 Task Force was created: currently made up of members from 13 countries bringing the voice of cooperatives to the Summit. During 2021, it coordinated proposals with members of the Italian Cooperative Alliance and Italian Sherpas, in particular on the topics of Business 20 (B20) and Civil Society 20 (C20).