Participants from 94 countries meet in the first global conference on cooperative contributions to the SDGs

Alongside cooperators from more than 94 countries, the conference brought together development agencies, policymakers, institutional partners, government officials and other stakeholders.

Cooperators from around the world convened in Kigali, Rwanda to collectively map out the plan for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) reaffirmed that cooperatives are the best and most stable and sustainable way to achieve these goals.

Throughout the conference, NCBA CLUSA was proud to represent the U.S. cooperative movement and participated in numerous panel discussions that focused on cooperative development, decent work, ethical value chains, affordable housing, equality and peace, entrepreneurship, fair trade, food security and sustainable food production.

Last week also hosted the annual meeting of the ICA General Assembly. Consisting of delegates from the nearly 100 ICA member countries, the meeting focused on approval of guidelines for a new strategic document that will lead the global cooperative work into the next decade. During this discussion, NCBA CLUSA recommended that diversity, equity and inclusion be considered foundational that work.

Through its active participation, NCBA CLUSA continues to both learn from and influence the advancement of the cooperative business model in countries around the world. As part of this global conversation, U.S. cooperative businesses demonstrate the contributions of cooperatives—across sectors and regions—to sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

Read more about the ICA Global Conference below:

From October 14-17 in Kigali, Rwanda, more than 1,000 people from 94 countries participated in the 2019 International Cooperative Alliance’s (ICA) Global Conference on Cooperatives for Development. The was organized in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Rwanda, a country where 43 percent of the population are members of cooperatives.

“We are very pleased to be in this wonderful country where we have shared, discussed and shown the contribution of cooperatives to the sustainable development of our communities. This conference is also the prelude to the celebration of our 125th anniversary next year,” ICA President Ariel Guarco said in a press conference with the Hon. Soraya Hakuziyaremeye, Minister of Trade & Industry of the Republic of Rwanda.

As people-centered businesses and key development actors, cooperatives are contributing to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all by supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sustainable Development Agenda was the focus of “Cooperatives for Development” sessions and the SDGs constituted angles of intervention for our speakers and participants.

Within the spectrum of development and the SDGs, the issues addressed included women’s empowerment, the preservation of the environment, the eradication of hunger and poverty, decent work, ethical value chains, affordable housing, equality and peace, and innovation in entrepreneurship.

The Kigali Resolution on Development was also approved, reaffirming the commitment of the Global Cooperative movement to the International Statement on the Cooperative Identity and emphasizing the need for cooperatives to be recognized as an indispensable actor for the aspirational multi-stakeholder partnerships required to achieve sustainable development beyond 2030.

Alongside cooperators from more than 94 countries, the conference brought together civil society actors, development agencies, policymakers, institutional partners, government officials, representatives from international and regional organizations, researchers, and a wide range of actors concerned with issues in development.

Participants could also discover the latest findings of the ICA-EU partnership (#coops4dev), seeking to strengthen the cooperative movement and its capacity to foster international development through policy, knowledge building and sharing, networking, and awareness efforts.

The Global Conference was also the occasion to celebrate the 2019 Rochdale Pioneers Award, awarded to Howard Brodsky of CCA Global Partners and Byeong-won Kim of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) of the Republic of Korea. The award is the highest honor the ICA bestows. It aims to recognize, in the spirit of the Rochdale Pioneers, an individual or an organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the global cooperative movement.

2019 ICA General Assembly

With the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade coming to an end in 2020, the global cooperative movement approved the guidelines for a new strategic document to lead cooperatives into the next decade during the 2019 ICA General Assembly on October 17. Members of the Assembly offered specific suggestions to enhance the document as it is being finalized.

The guidelines focus attention on ICA’s Purpose and Mission in the face of the challenges facing the world, while looking at how to strengthen the Cooperative Identity in this new decade. It also acknowledges the 2020 vision as set out in the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade and proposes to extend it through 2030. The strategy focuses on four key themes: promotion of cooperative identity, growth of the cooperative movement, cooperation among cooperatives and contribution to sustainable development, all of which expand on the five pillars of the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade.

The ICA General Assembly also adopted a declaration in which it reiterates its commitment to “peace, wellbeing and prosperity for all.”

The resolution explains the concept of positive peace, which, according to peace scholar Johan Galtung, is related to the good contributions in the community, particularly cooperation and integration, reconciliation and equality. Positive peace needs to be differentiated from negative peace, which relates to the absence of violence. Submitted by the ICA board, the resolution calls on the movement to uphold and deepen its commitment to positive peace and call on all of their members to strengthen their action to build positive peace based on the ICA’s Agenda of Cooperative Action for Positive Peace.

Representatives of the cooperative movement in Korea announced the next stop of the global event: Seoul, Korea will host the 2020 Congress & ICA General Assembly and 125th Anniversary of the International Cooperative Alliance from December 11-16, 2020.

Share This Post

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, we would love it if you would share it to your social networks!