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Inclusion and humanity are at the core of our identity, making cooperatives a valuable tool in the construction of positive peace. We respond to the needs of refugees, rebuild after natural disasters, look after the most vulnerable, and we respond to the ravages of a global pandemic. These crises are constantly threatening a globalised economy. How can cooperatives work together to bring about positive and lasting change in the world?


World Cooperative Congress Sessions

Plenary Session 3: Committing to our Cooperative Identity

Inclusion and humanity are at the core of our identity, making cooperatives a valuable tool in the construction of positive peace. We respond to the needs of refugees, rebuild after natural disasters, look after the most vulnerable, and we respond to the ravages of a global pandemic. These crises are constantly threatening a globalised economy. How can cooperatives work together to bring about positive and lasting change in the world?

Parallel Session 3.1: For the Survival of the Planet

The top priority of a majority of institutions on the planet is to act on climate change. The pandemic has highlighted the interdependence between the degradation of the environment and declining health. Cooperatives have been committed to and have been responding to UN Sustainable Development Goals long before they became to be. How does the global cooperative movement fight against climate change? What measures are being taken in cooperative sectors—agriculture, fisheries, consumption, housing, health, banking, insurance, industry and services, etc. to mitigate the adverse effects of the climate crisis? How do the different sectors address the loss of biodiversity? What are the best coping strategies?

Parallel Session 3.2: For Peace and the Future of Humanity

According to the ICA Declaration on Positive Peace through Cooperatives (2019), peace based on “good contribution in the community, particularly cooperation and integration, reconciliation and equality’ is “positive peace.” Many times, cooperatives have been directly involved in positive peace initiatives without necessarily recognizing the direct role they have played. Does support for positive peace feature prominently in the global cooperative movement?  How do their actions translate into restoring post-conflict peace and stability, conflict prevention, natural disaster recovery and the refugee crisis?

Parallel Session 3.3: For Cooperative Development Across the World

By giving local communities direct control over their destiny, whether in agricultural production, health, housing, education, industry, retail, banking or energy, cooperatives play a decisive role in the world economy. There are lessons to be learned from successes and failures in international development as well as the specific role of cooperatives in community development based on their identity. What global portrait does the ICA-EU partnership make of developing cooperatives? What is the role of cooperatives in community development? How are the values and principles attributed to the cooperative identity the key to success?

Parallel Session 3.4: For Strengthening the Community

Cooperative Principle #7: Concern for Community emphasizes the cooperative contribution to local community development, while promoting the economic participation of their members. The cooperative model has the potential to play a key role in communities facing various social problems, such as poverty, inequality and unemployment. It is an excellent model for building circular and autogenous communities by promoting the revitalization of the regional economy, creative jobs and increasing the social and economic participation of members. How can this be enhanced and help more communities facing various social issues? How can the cooperative movement help to build independent, self-reliant communities that will reinvest their own knowledge and resources back in the community itself?

Parallel Session 3.5: For Facing Crises with Strength

The COVID-19 pandemic is the best example of how disasters often occur unexpectedly and cause social, health and economic crisis. Temporarily, this type of crisis can be addressed by “social distancing” and closing borders but this cannot be the fundamental solution. Our open democratic system helps us face and overcome health, social and economic crises. What have cooperatives done to emerge from this crisis?