More than 1,500 cooperators from 30+ countries met in Buenos Aires, Argentina October last week for the 5th Cooperative Summit of the Americas. Primarily comprised of cooperators from North, Central and South America, the Summit is looking beyond its shared regional interests with the theme, “Cooperatives at a Time of Global Challenges,” and acknowledging the important role the cooperative businesses model has in addressing today’s global issues.
Through NCBA CLUSA, this international body of cooperators learns of the impact U.S. cooperatives are having on the nation’s economy and creates opportunities for international co-op to co-op interaction.
Among the sessions held at the summit, NCBA CLUSA’s Alex Serrano, Senior Vice President of International Development, and Stanley Kuehn, Senior Technical Advisor, participated in a discussion on cooperation among cooperatives and its role in improving business opportunities for co-ops across borders. Using NCBA CLUSA members as examples, they highlighted the success of co-op to co-op trade in coffee and spices between Central American co-ops and those in the U.S.
Last week’s summit also hosted the October 24 launch of the Cooperatives of the Americas Development Platform. This new platform provides for the exchange of experiences among regional stakeholders that engage in and are dedicated to international cooperation that directly impacts sustainable development. The #Coops4dev hashtag is meant to capture the work of cooperatives in North, Central and South America and provide relevant data to the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) that contributes to achieving the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
In signing the document, NCBA CLUSA pledged to coordinate with Cooperatives of the Americas to create the Cooperatives of the Americas Development Platform (CADP).
Speaking at the signing event on behalf of NCBA CLUSA, Carla Decker, CEO of DC Credit Union, addressed the parallels between the SDGs and the work NCBA CLUSA is doing to build an inclusive economy.
“The objectives of an inclusive economy framework provide us with metrics where individuals who come from different sectors can contribute towards these global metrics in a unique and powerful way,” Decker, who also serves on NCBA CLUSA’s Board of Directors, said.
Organizers of the Cooperatives of the Americas Development Platform noted the “growing need for greater collaboration” between national and international organizations that are active in cooperative development, adding that the new platform is “an opportunity to assure the positioning of the cooperative movement as a key actor in international cooperation.”