In 2020 we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the International Cooperative Alliance. This is not only a milestone for our organisation, but also for the entire cooperative movement.
This year, humanity has faced enormous challenges. While confined to our homes, we have witnessed bad news about the pandemic, racial violence, and the effects of climate change. At the same time, we have also put cooperative principles into action. We have seen how cooperatives have helped communities around the world cope with a deadly virus and will help them rebuild when the pandemic is over.
In this sense, I am proud to know that the organisation that was born 125 years ago to serve cooperatives from all corners of the planet, today continues to be the common home of all organisations. They all practice an economy with roots in democracy and solidarity, strengthened by a spirit that is able to take on today’s global challenges.
Our cooperative identity, values and principles have remained strong and are the foundation for cooperatives around the world to help their communities survive and cope with this year’s pandemic.
In these months I have listened to cooperative members everywhere tell their stories of resilience and commitment to respond to the needs of the people. I have seen quick and innovative actions from cooperatives that have protected and helped the most vulnerable populations.
As a member of the cooperative movement, I know that in times of crisis, cooperatives are without hesitation, ready to support their community.
This year, we have also witnessed the emergence of a generation of young leaders, committed to eliminating social inequality, fighting climate change, and resolving the imbalances accentuated by the pandemic. I firmly believe that the cooperative model can be the channel through which our youth can organise themselves democratically and be an agent of social transformation.
With our cooperative identity as a standard, we can move towards the sustainable development of our communities. Together, we will continue to build a strong and transformative cooperative movement for the next hundred years and beyond.