NCBA CLUSA president and CEO Doug O’Brien will be a panelist during this week’s International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)-European Union (EU) partnership webinar called “Cooperatives: A Resilient Model in Times of Crisis and Beyond.” Organized under the umbrella of the United Nations’ High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), this event will take place on Thursday, July 16, from 1-2 p.m. EDT on Zoom.
The webinar will showcase the capacity of cooperatives to effectively reactivate local economies by focusing on inclusive, sustainable economic growth that reaches the most vulnerable communities. The discussion will explore how cooperatives—especially youth cooperatives—can pave the way toward a just, fairer economy for generations to come. With half a billion people pushed into poverty and an estimated 200 million people losing their jobs due to the impacts of COVID-19, the cooperative business model can be a vehicle of resilience amid crisis.
During the webinar, panelists will explore how alternative business models that rely on democratic decision-making and transparent benefit-sharing rather than the remuneration of capital can tackle inequalities. Considering the high rate of unemployment among youth due to the pandemic, platform and youth cooperatives are specific examples of the efforts and initiatives that are contributing to increased citizen participation, wealth redistribution and job creation in the digital era.
In an opinion piece last month, O’Brien wrote that cooperatives can be a concrete tool in the hands of young people for improving their work and entrepreneurship conditions. “A generation of younger workers is ready and waiting to transform their businesses and workplaces through the cooperative business model. The lack of viable career paths for youth is one of this generation’s greatest crises. Cooperatives can—and should—be one of their greatest opportunities,” he said.
On Thursday, O’Brien and other panelists will discuss the role of young people within the cooperative movement, why policymakers should actively support democratic and participatory business models, how these models can go to scale, and how they can be an answer to rising inequality.
Be part of this conversation on fighting inequality and sharing the benefits of cooperation by registering now!