With Indonesia taking over the Presidency of the G20, Italian cooperators met with their Indonesian counterparts to hand over the presidency of the ICA G20 Working Group.
The meeting took place in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, ahead of the World Cooperative Congress (1-3 December 2021).
Earlier this year, the International Cooperative Alliance established a G20 Working Group (ICA G20 WG), which has been collaborating with the Italian Cooperative Alliance to contribute to the G20 discussions under the current G20 Italian Presidency, particularly involving the Business 20 (B20) and Civil Society 20 (C20) task forces. As a result of joint efforts and active participation in the different debates, the G20 policy recommendations have recognised cooperatives’ contribution to building up a sustainable future for all, mentioning them five times in the C20 and twice in B20 policy packages.
The meeting was attended by Giuseppe Guerini, Vice-Chair of the ICA G20 WG and President of CECOP-CICOPA Europe; Danila Curcio, Head of International Institutional Relations at Confcooperative, Italy, and facilitator of the ICA’s C20 Working Group; Stefania Marcone, Chief of the International Relations and European Policies Legacoop (Alliance of Italian Cooperatives) and facilitator of the ICA’s B20 Working Group, Italy; and Robby Tulus, a pioneer of the credit union movement in Indonesia.
The outcomes of the year of engagement with the G20 were also highlighted during a separate session later in the day.
Stefania Marcone said: “We are really happy to share and pass on to our Indonesian colleagues this experience. The Italian Alliance of Cooperatives was able to include three representatives within three very important task forces of the B20 – Employment and Education, Energy Efficiency and Global Sustainability.
“We hosted the G20 for the first time in Italy – it was important for the ICA to work together with colleagues from G20 countries together. We will be able to show our difference in respect of other types of businesses.”
Danila Curcio also said: “We managed to have Italian representatives in eight C20 working groups. We decided to have online platforms to share all materials via online meetings and we kept fostering relationships with Italian institutions to upscale and improve already existing relationships and be able to spread the cooperative identity. This has been unprecedented work and we are really happy to share and pass on this task to Indonesian colleagues.”
Giuseppe Guerini highlighted the important relationship built with civil society organisations via the involvement of Italian cooperators in the C20: “The C20 works with civil society organisations so we have built a good bridge into civil society, business and government. We are people, enterprises and part of governance so it is a very good occasion to promise with Indonesian colleagues this heritage that we are ready to pass on,” he said.
Howard Brodsky, the Chair of the ICA G20 Working Group said in a recorded message: “The driving concept of the ICA G20 working group is to advance the co-op movement’s priorities.” He thanked the Italian Cooperative Alliance for their work and coordination over the past 12 months and highlighted the important role of cooperatives in solving today’s global challenges by putting people first.
Mr Tulus said: “With this group of G20 participants among ICA members we will see the strength of the movement in other countries that can be replicated. We have learnt so much from the Italian experience in terms of how they preceded and in terms of substance as well. I am humbled and very pleased to be given the baton from Italian co-ops.”
Alessandro Hinna, Vice-Chair of the ICA G20 Working Group provided an overview of the main lessons learnt by Italian cooperators in the process, such as preparing the field with national institutions, including national cooperators in the B20 task forces; setting up a national B20 and C20 committee, using the ICA G20 Working Group to see what other cooperators want and establishing alliances with representatives of other countries on specific topics and priority interest.
“Co-operation is an instrument of self-emancipation to empower people,” he added.
The ICA G20 Working Group builds on previous participation, advocacy and recommendations submitted to the G20 leaders, which have referenced and impacted cooperatives.
Cooperatives have been participating in the previous editions of B20 with taskforce representatives ensuring they are recognised as key contributors to solving the world’s challenges. Their participation and advocacy have resulted in several references to and recognition of cooperatives in the final B20 policy papers submitted to the G20 leaders.