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ICA-AP REGIONAL ASSEMBLY, TEHRAN, 26-30 NOVEMBER 2018

10th ICA Asia and Pacific Co-operative Forum

 

“Co-operatives Help Economies become more Resilient and Sustainable.”

28 November 2018

IRIB International Conference Centre, Tehran, Iran

 


Introduction  


The theme for the 2018 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, which oversees the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was, “Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient societies.” The need to grow the real economy, generate conditions for long-term jobs creation and increase wealth which combines economic interests with social and environmental concerns is greater than ever before.


The co-operative enterprise model with its focus on the economic, social, and environmental development of members and strong democratic principles offers viable solution to the  social and economic issues of our times. In the aftermath of the global financial and economic crises, co-operatives have proven their strength and resilience, benefiting members, employees, and customers. The co-operative enterprise model can reverse the trend of growing inequality and play a crucial role to construct an inclusive and resilient economy founded on values of self-help and solidarity that performs better for all.


In the Asia-Pacific region, co-operatives in their over 100 years existence have weathered economic, social and political challenges, and continue to expand despite the odds.  The struggle to survive and thrive has never been easy owing to myriad of socio-economic and political roadblocks from time to time. In times of natural disasters, co-operatives have rallied the community and mobilized resources to rebuild their resources. The need for co-operatives in building sustainable and resilient societies is ever more urgent given the concerns about widening inequality, narrowing space for inclusion, and increasing sense of insecurity, especially among the marginalized and vulnerable communities. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) looks at co-operatives as an actor that can help build sustainable and resilient societies given their triple role: as economic actors they create opportunities for jobs, livelihoods and income generation; as people-centered enterprises with social goals they contribute to social equity and justice; and as democratic institutions they are controlled by their members, playing a leading role in society and local communities.


Co-operative Forum


The Cooperative Forum is a biennial event organized by ICA-AP in conjunction with the Regional Assembly which is the highest decision-making body of the ICA-AP. The Forum

brings together stakeholders to assess progress, discuss challenges and arrive at decisions to strengthen cooperative enterprises as models of sustainable development. The Cooperative Forum was established in the year 2000 and continues to be organized in conjunction with the Regional Assembly to take advantage of the presence of all members. The format is participatory and the objective is to discuss and deliberate on selected issues relevant to the times, share and exchange thematic information, recognize the challenges and build consensus on measures to be taken. The list of Cooperative Forums since 2000 can be found in Annexure - A

The 10th ICA-AP Co-operative Forum as part of the 13thICA-AP Regional Assembly will focus on “Co-operatives Help Economies become more Resilient and Sustainable,” will be held on 28 November 2018 at IRIB International Conference Centre, Tehran, Iran.

 

Resilience in the mainstream


‘Resilience’ is defined as the ability to successfully cope with a crisis and to return to pre-crisis status quickly. In relation to a business entity, “resilience” is the next evolutionary phase of business continuity. Resilience helps businesses take continuity principles out of their silo and integrate it with all disaster recovery and emergency preparedness initiatives for a stronger response to any threat. Like continuity, resilience focuses on preserving the processes and procedures that help businesses survive unexpected threats. Recognizing that businesses operate in an environment of continuous change, resilience focuses on how to best preserve value in these complex environments.


The concept of resilience has moved from the domain of ecology to the political and development sphere. In addition to a country’s growing ability to withstand natural disasters and conflict, it needs to look increasingly at economic and financial shocks, technological leapfrogging and disruptive business models. According to the EU, resilience is “the ability of an individual, a household, a community, a country or a region to withstand, to adapt, and to quickly recover from stresses and shocks” such as violence, conflict, drought and other natural disasters without compromising long-term development.”


2015 and 2016 were landmark years as the world’s governments agreed on four frameworks and agreements. These were the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the World Humanitarian Summit Framework. These frameworks and agreements set out goals and targets to address disaster, sustainable development, climate and humanitarian challenges of today.  ‘Resilience’ features in all four of the major frameworks and agreements. Each articulates the importance of resilience in achieving global change in a variety of sectors, contexts and scales. Co-operatives and mutual have been involved in all these and in the process not only been recognized but more importantly called upon to implement.

 

Resilience in co-operatives


Co-operatives develop individual participation, can build personal self-confidence and resilience, and create social capital. Co-operatives also help enhance local ownership and

constructive leadership. The 2020 Vision seeks to build on the achievements of the International Year of Co-operatives and the resilience demonstrated by the co-operative movement.

The resilience and the strength of the co-operative movement is reflected in how it comes together and addresses the crises it is confronting.


In Singapore, the Singapore Professionals’ and Executives’ Co-operative (SPEC), set up by the Singapore Human Resources Institute in 2000 after the financial crisis of 1998, which sparked a wave of business restructures that left many professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) without jobs.  SPEC helps PMETs to adapt to these changes and stay resilient, whatever the future brings. It helps to change mindset – for instance, by changing their lifelong expectation of working for only one employer to working for a range of organizations that require their services and expertise.


The CECOP-CICOPA report, The Resilience of the Cooperative Model details with concrete examples, the resilience of worker cooperatives, social cooperatives and other worker-owned enterprises. “At the "micro" (enterprise) level, a number of short-term measures aimed at facing the immediate effects of the crisis (in particular aimed at temporarily reducing costs), were taken rapidly and with a high level of legitimacy by the cooperative members thanks to the regime of democratic control which characterizes these enterprises. In particular, cooperative groups have proven to maintain and even in a number of cases to increase, the number of jobs and the turnover, and thus to show a particularly strong resilience.


The 2015 Ernst and Young Submission to Submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Economics in Australia, “Stepping out of the shadows: The role and importance of cooperative, mutual and member-owned firms in facilitating sustainable economic growth,” had this to say, “as member owned organizations, CMEs re-invest profits back into the business. These profits fund operational improvements including education and training, product and service innovations,dividends to members, or are saved to the balance sheet to fund consolidation and future growth. This creates internal and local multiplier effects helping to improve the resilience and vibrancy of the business and local community.


A devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on the morning of April 25, 2015 killing more than 8,800 people and injuring more than 23,000. Cooperatives were badly affected - around 1,000 had lost their lives and over 1,500 among the injured.  Within an hour of the quake hitting, the National Cooperative Federation, Nepal (NCF/N), put out an appeal to all its members for help. The National Agricultural Cooperative Central Federation (NACCFL) through the support of its members provided relief packets, medicines, and rescued people out of debris/ rubble from 85 villages. Co-operatives from all over the world rallied and contributed over $1 million dollars. Through soft-loans and grants, both NCF/N and NACCFL were able to support co-operatives repair their infrastructure and individual members in rebuilding their livelihood. Priority was given to single women, disadvantaged groups and those highly dependent on agriculture.

Co-operatives in the national economy

One in every six people on the planet is a cooperator. The largest 300 co-operatives in the world have combined annual revenues of 2.16 trillion USD (2015) and 280 million people around the world (10% of the employed population) secure their livelihoods in co-operatives, either through direct employment or by organizing through a co-operative.

 

Cooperatives are the backbone for Japan’s rural economy through their presence in agriculture, fisheries, and even forestry. From rural to urban, farmer to consumer, and junior to elderly, cooperatives play a critical role throughout the Japanese economy. Since 1900, the Japan Agriculture Cooperative Group has been present in every village and nearly 100 percent of farm households join the cooperatives; every rural village has a cooperative store and access to cooperative financing and cooperative insurance.


The cooperative sector is one of the three pillars of Nepal’s economic development. In 2015/16 there were 33,599 cooperatives with six million members. This sector has collected $2.82 billion of deposits and invested $2.76 billion in the production and service sectors. The financial contribution of these cooperatives was estimated at 18 percent of GDP in 2014. Cooperatives play an important role in reducing poverty by providing economic opportunities for their members, empowering weaker members and mediating members’ access to credit. Around 14,000 saving and credit cooperatives facilitate access to capital, and 9,965 agricultural cooperatives help members access inputs to grow crops, keep livestock and process, transport and market produce. The 1,461 consumer cooperatives enable their members and society to access quality household supplies. Some 12,440 agriculture production related cooperatives improve food security and nutritional status by helping small farmers, livestock farmers and forest user groups address food production challenges by facilitating members’ access to improved seed, fertilizer, know-how, and production loans.


In Iran, Principle 43 and 44 of the Iranian Constitution recognizes that Iranian national economy is based on three sectors: government, co-operatives and private. The co-operatives play a vital role in the national economy by balancing the economic activities and preventing centralization of wealth control, promoting  public participation and ownership, and creating equal opportunities. The government is oblidged to provide financial support and loan to co-operative entrepreneurship and SMEs. Co-operatives are active in sectors such as housing, consumer, agriculture, transport,mining and handicrafts. The Iran Chamber of Commerce Vision-2020 aims at professional management of co-operative by inclusion of and promotion of educated, technically qualified youth leadership; equal participation by women and men; introduction of IT,  e-commerce; and concern for environmental issues.


Sri Lanka’s cooperative sector celebrates its 114th anniversary this year. The movement which began with a rural credit society in Menikhinna Village, Kandy (Central Province) in 1904; today has within it 40% of the population (850,000) as members of  cooperative societies. The 14,500 societies across the country sport assets and savings close to US $3 billion. The sector received a boost when during the celebrations of International Day of Co-operatives on July 7, 2018 the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena invited it to sit in the future sessions of the National Economic Council (NEC). The NEC is Sri Lanka’s apex

economic policy advisory body  cretated to assist in the formulation of forward-looking and innovative Government policies taking into consideration the emerging development priorities and to create necessary mechanisms for the implementation of policies.

Promotion of co-operatives in Sustainable Sevelopment


The ICA has created avenues and platforms to highlight the role of co-operatives in budiling resilient communities, advocate for promotion of the cooperative business model, and build capacity of members. Since the UN declaration and observance of International Year of Co-operatives in 2012, the ICA has taken steps to utilise this ‘momentous recognition’ to the advantage of its millions of members worldwide. The ICA ‘Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade’ seeks to position, by 2020, cooperatives as the acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability, the model preferred by people and the fastest growing form of enterprise.The 2030 agenda explicitly recognises co-operatives as important player within the private sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ICA along with its member network worldwide is committed to supporting cooperatives in contributing to the SDGs and positioning them as players in building sustainability. More details about the platforms and avenues can be found in Annexure – B.


Focus areas to build resilience in members and communities


Disaster Risk Reduction and Management


Co-operatives have rallied around to support is in the aftermath of natural disasters. The recent examples are response to tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka (2004) and Japan (2011); typhoon in Philippines (2013); cyclone in Vanuatu (2015); and earthquake in Nepal (2015). Members from all countries in the region have provided financial and in-kind support to meet immediate and long-term needs. Disasters can push people back into poverty quickly and trap them in an intergenerational transmission of poverty. Given the vulnerability of the Asia-Pacific region to natural disasters, co-operatives in the region need to have a much more focused and targeted response to disaster by creating a Disaster Response Fund, create a pool of advisors who could be of ready assistance, and help develop cost-effective ways to develop resilience mechanisms.


Agriculture is the mainstay of people in the region and agriculture and related businesses are heavily dependent on natural resources. Unplanned and unmindful use of forest, soil and water have led to degradation of soil, reduction in productivity, and loss of natural and human resources. There is need to invest in precision agriculture, use of biomass, alternative and renewable energy, recycling, and use of new technology.


Insurance


Many co-operative members, especially small and marginal farmers, informal and unorganized workers, and women are among the vulnerable and have no access to social safety nets. They need the means to protect their lives and livelihoods by using insurance as a risk transfer mechanism with all the additional benefits it can deliver. The development of microinsurance over the past 15 years has proved an integral tool for poverty alleviation. It is

estimated that over 500 million now have some form of microinsurance cover, but the pool is of over 2 billion people. There is need to build resilient insurance system by building capacity among communities do not have insurance expertise; providing financial support to fund education and added value services; and creating a regulatory environment to enable mutual insurance mechanisms to service low-income communities. Trust has to be created and resilience begins with engaging the communities that are being served but who have traditionally been excluded. Insurance is a way to support societal resilience.

Ecosystem


Co-operatives are a network of individuals and organizations which encompass members, government agencies, business partners, and other stakeholders. In the delivery of a specific product or service there is need for both cooperation and competition.The relationships among stakeholders’ matter and there is need to bring synergy between and among all in the network to create an ‘ecosystem’ for cooperatives to sustain and be sustainable.  


When the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) in India wanted to raise Rs.200 crores (US$31 million) for helping them undertake the reconstruction of six important roads in Kozhikode, they reached out to the primary co-operative banks in their area. In a meeting of interested Primary Cooperative Banks under the leadership of Kozhikode District Cooperative Bank there was unanimous agreement to associate with the project, to form a consortium and secure consent letters by the respective governing bodies within a week.  As per section 57 C of the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act, the Government is empowered to frame a Scheme called the “Consortium Lending Scheme” for the purpose of providing loans for infrastructural development to societies. Theprinciples behind forming the consortium of primary banks were to 1) use cooperative funds for cooperative development - the source of funds of primary cooperatives  from farmers, laborers, SMEs, pensioners and salaried employees of the region to be invested in the infrastructure development of the region; 2) the development of cooperative credibility - ULCCS won the project competing with many MNCs and their achievement was highly inspirational to many other cooperatives, the financial participation from primary cooperatives would make this project a collective venture of cooperatives; and 3) participation in national building - cooperatives in Kerala have millions in funds available with them for investment. An alternative to MNC-public sector bank tie up where the funders and contractors belong to cooperatives. This kind of large projects undertaken by cooperatives will allow cooperative institutions participate in national building.


Work and ownership


In the work area, resilience becomes important given the rapid changes in technology and continuous business restructuring. The advent of gig economy and flexible work arrangements will see changes in traditional employment arrangements. This will affect not only a particular age group but will also affect new job seekers and cut across jobs and skill sets. Adapting to the new operating environment is key. Co-operatives need to change and adapt to the new operating environment – just like any commercial organization faced with challenges such as slower and negative growth, and evolving work requirements arising or the changing work environment.”


Rapid and unplanned urbanization, distressed migration from rural to urban areas, lack of resources and space for the rapidly growth population and limited capability on part of

governments calls for sharing and caring and concerns for community. The co-operative model of sharing of goods and services and infrastructure could provide an answer. Example of Seoul, Milan and Amsterdam are where government and civil societies came together to discuss the idea of sharing (Monica Bernardi, Urban Sociologist, Milano-Bicocca University, Italy). The transport co-operatives are already there in several places and need to innovate further.

Enabling Environment

 

Advocacy at various levels of governance and developing partnerships with stakeholders is needed to create a ‘political will’ and provide an enabling environment for co-operative.  

 

The CECOP-CICOPA study found that at the "macro" level (legislation and public policies), it appears clearly that cooperatives’ resilience is stronger in the countries that have the best legal framework protecting and promoting cooperative enterprises, such as the indivisible reserves, mutualized financial instruments, groups and consortia, in Italy, Spain and France.”

 

The government should create supportive conditions for developing and expansion of co-operative business/ social entrepreneurship and should get the same priority from policy makers and political leadership as privately owned ‘for profit’ enterprises. Co-operatives on their part should practice good governance, expand and broaden scope of work and members services to bring sustainability and resilience.




Way forward


The 10th Cooperative Forum intends to showcase the contribution of co-operatives in helpingeconomies become more resilient and sustainable. The Forum will review progress and gaps thereof, identify and discuss challenges that limit cooperatives in realising their full potential as builder of sustainability. It will brainstorming to find ways and means to overcome these challenges, develop consensus, and chalk out concrete and achievable action points.


Having established itself as significant partner in socio-economic progress of economies, co-operatives must move ahead and continue scaling success by bringing real changes in the lives of community and countries through action on the ground.


The objectives of the 10th Cooperative Forum are to:

 

  1. Showcase contribution of co-operatives in helping economies become more resilient and sustainable

  2. Review progress and gaps in performance to achieve SDGs

  3. Discuss on creating an ‘eco system’ with focus on ‘cooperation among co-operatives’ in the region and build consensus for joint action

  4. Discuss and adopt ‘innovation’ in cooperative business for stability and growth.


The Organisers

The ICA-AP is organisasing this event in collaboration with Iranian cooperative movement led by ICC.


International Cooperative Alliance – Asia and Pacific


The International Co-operative Alliance is an independent, non-governmental organization established in 1895 to unite, represent and serve co-operatives worldwide. The ICA Asia-Pacific (ICA-AP) regional office was established in New Delhi in 1960 to provide a voice and forum for knowledge, expertise and coordinated action for and about co-operatives in the region. The ICA-AP members are national co-operative organizations across 32 countries from all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, industry, services, banking, retail, fisheries, health, housing and insurance. More information is available at: www.ica-ap.coop


Contact persons:


  1. Savitri Singh, Program Director savitri.singh@icaap.coop

  2. Sethu Madhavan, Advisor-Planning & Membership sethu.madhavan@icaap.coop

The Iran Chamber of Co-operatives


Iran Chamber of Co-operatives (ICC) an ICA member, was established in 1992. With the support of government and nation,  it undertakes duties and authorities of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries & Mine in relation to the cooperative sector. ICC operates beyond national borders by facilitating trade and business interactions among traders, farmers, and merchants in other countries. The ICC as an apex, people-based, non-governmental cooperative organization has more than 92,000 cooperative societies with around 10,000,000 members. The ICC has helped create over  1,700,000 jobs under its umbrella, and plays an important role in Iran's economy.


Contact person:


  1. Mr. Alireza Banaeifar, International Affairs Manager int@icccoop.ir 

cc: E-mail: alireza.banaeifar@iran.coop

Venue

 

IRIB International Conference Centre, Tehran, Iran

 

Website

http://www.regionalassembly.coop/tehran2018/

 

 

References:

 

ICA Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade

 

A New EU Strategic Approach to Global Development, Resilience and Sustainability

by Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

http://www.iai.it/sites/default/files/iaiwp1614.pdf


Resilience: A Critical Framework for Development. June 17, 2014

https://www.csis.org/analysis/resilience-critical-framework-development

 

Stepping out of the shadows: The role and importance of cooperative, mutual and member-owned firms in facilitating sustainable economic growth. Submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Economics. July 2015


https://www.thenews.coop/107972/sector/community/singapores-growing-movement-seniors-co-operatives/


https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-proposed-national-economic-council-the-way-forward/

 

http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/social/cooperatives.html


http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/cooperatives_report.pdf



10th ICA Asia and Pacific Co-operative Forum

“Co-operatives help economies become more resilient and sustainable.”

28 November 2018

 

Tentative Program

 

 


Event

              Speakers








09:30-10:50

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keynote- “Co-operatives help economies become more resilient and sustainable.”   



  • Mr. Bahman Abdollahi, President ICC, Iran

  • Mr. Li Chunsheng, President, ICA-AP

  • Mr. Ariel Guarco, President ICA

  • Opening Adress by Hon. Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Parliament of Iran

  • Keynote address  –

  • Appreciation: Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer, Regional Director, ICA-AP


10:50 - 11:15



Break



11:15-13:00


15 minutes Q&A; 10 minutes for summing up by Chair

 

Session 1:Cooperatives contribution in helping economies become more resilient and sustainable

 

Showcase achievements in creating awareness, reflect on progress, gaps, challenges and way forward

 

  • Dr. Shirzad, CEO of CORC, Iran

  • Representative from China

  • Representative from Malaysia

  • Representative from Nepal

  • Representative from Vanuatu/ Vietnam



13:00 - 14:00



Lunch



14:00- 15:00


15 minutes Q&A; 10 minutes for summing up by Chair

 

Session 2: Creating an ‘Ecosystem’ for Co-operatives

 

Speakers from line ministries and co-operatives will speak on creating an enabling environment. Look at issue relating to cooperative education, partnership with stakeholders and collaboration among cooperatives



  • Eng. Hamid Kalantari, Deputy Minister of Co-operatives

  • Representative from Sri Lanka

  • Representative from India

  • Representative from Indonesia

  • Representative from Philippines

15:15 - 15:30

Tea break



15:15 - 16:30


10 minutes for Q&A and 5 minutes for summing up by the Chair

 

Session 3: Innovation for inclusive growth and sustainability

 

Experts from international agencies and co-operatives will discuss on innovation in the field of agriculture, world of work and ownership, enabling environment etc.



  • Representative from FAO

  • Representative from ILO

  • Representative from UNDP

  • Dr. Keshavarz, CEO of CURACI, Iran

  • Institute of Rural Management, India

  • Representative from Palestine




16:30 - 17:30


Closing Session


  • Report and recommendations of the Forum

  • Closing Speech



Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer, Regional Director, ICA-AP


Mr. Li Chunsheng, President ICAAP


Dr. Ali Rebiei, Minister of Co-operatives, Labour and Social Welfare, Iran


Annexure-A


Cooperative Forum

Number

Year

Place

Theme

1

2000

Singapore, Singapore

Co-operatives in the 21st Century: Are We Changing

2

2002

Cebu, Philippines

Co-operatives: Past 10 Years and 10 years Ahead

3

2004

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Re-engineering Co-operatives in the Globalize Economy

4

2006

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Capacity Building: The Priority for Co-operative Enterprises

5

2008

Hanoi, Vietnam

Co-operative Advantage in the Economy of Asia & the Pacific

6

2010

China

Co-operatives – The Sector of Global Importance

7

2012

Kobe, Japan

Role of Co-operatives in times of Natural Disaster

8

2014

Bali, Indonesia

Co-operatives for Sustainable Development in Asia and Pacific

9

2016

New Delhi, India

Co-operatives: Power to Act for a Sustainable Future

10

2018

Tehran, Iran

Co-operatives help economies become more resilient and sustainable.





Annexure B

 

ICA INITIATIVES TO BUILD CAPACITY AND INFLUENCE

 

The 2030 agenda explicitly recognises co-operatives as important player within the private sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ICA along with its member network worldwide is committed to supporting cooperatives in contributing to the SDGs and positioning them as players in building sustainability. Since the UN declaration and observance of International Year of Co-operatives in 2012, the ICA has takensteps to utilise this ‘momentous recognition’ to the advantage of its millions of members worldwide.


The ICA ‘Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade’ seeks to position, by 2020, cooperatives as the acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability, the model preferred by people and the fastest growing form of enterprise.


The 2016 International Summit of Co-operatives Summit in Quebec devoted a full day to reflect upon the role of co-operatives in implementation of the SDGs and set the ambitious agenda for co-operatives  to represent 2 billion membership, 4 million enterprises and account for 20 per cent of global economic activity, by 2030.


The 9thAsia Pacific Cooperative Forum held in conjunction with the 12th Regional Assembly in November 2016 in New Delhi on the theme “Cooperatives: The power to act for a sustainable future,” emphasised on innovation, inclusion in the spirit of ‘ no one left behind’, and partnership.  The Forum also looked at current issues of inclusion of youth and care of aging population as future opportunities. The Forum resolved, among other things, to harness the power of co-operatives to collectively act towards an inclusive sustainable future for all.


The 10th Asia Pacific Co-operative Ministers’ Conference (Hanoi APCMC-2017) was held in April 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam. In line with the ICA commitment to achieve SDGs and positioning itself as significant partner, the theme of the conference was ‘Visioning ahead to 2030: Promoting Stronger Partnerships between Governments and Cooperative Stakeholders in realising the Sustainable Development Goals”. The conference was attended by 200 delegates from 23 countries including 8 Cooperative Ministers. The Conference  urged the governments of member states of the United Nations to integrate co-operatives in their respective development agendas and national policies by adopting the Hanoi declaration that recommends ensuring an enabling environment, strategically positioning the cooperative enterprise model, integrating cooperatives into development strategies, fostering public-private partnership, including women, promoting use of information technology etc. The conference called on all participants to act on Four action steps, namely develop concrete action plans and follow up activities, devise instruments on care and social economy, undertake research based programs relevant to implementation of the multi-stake holder partnership in realising the SDGs and to pursue sub-regional groupings of nations for cooperative development.

 

As recommended by the APCMC-2017, the Asia-Pacific Co-operative Development Conference (APCDC) was held on the theme ‘Building Multi- Stakeholder Partnerships on Sustainable Development in February 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was co-hosted by ICA-EU Partnership project on “Co-operatives in Development: People Centered Businesses

in Action” (#coops4dev) and the Sri Lankan co-operative movement. The Conference initiated a strategic policy dialogue among stakeholders aimed at structured exchange to build partnerships in achieving sustainable development. The conference addressed the topics, Eradicating Poverty: Opportunity, Protection and Empowerment; Building a more Sustainable Food System: Hunger, Food Security and Livelihoods; Improving Access to Basic Goods & Services: Economic, Social and Cultural aspects; Protecting the Environment: Concern for Community along with working sessions on the three Asia Pacific Strategic Development Priorities namely, Sustainable Development Goals; Youth Inclusion and Exploring ‘Work’ and ‘Ownership’ Structures in Co-operatives.

The theme for the 2018 International Day of Co-operatives is "sustainable consumption and production of goods and services". It gives an opportunity for co-operatives to show how they run successful businesses while respecting natural environment and the resources it offers to build and promote sustainability. The theme was unveiled in the presence of the President of the ICA, Ariel Guarco who stated,“We believe that co-operatives are an important and efficient instrument to fight poverty. Co-operatives bring people together in a democratic and equal way. They allow people to take control of their economic future and, because they are not owned by shareholders, the economic and social benefits of their activity stay in the communities where they are established. These are two very important characteristics of cooperatives especially when it comes to fighting poverty”.


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