By Sng Ler Jun
The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) General Assembly 2023 was held in Brussels, Belgium on 28 June 2023. Ahead of the International Co-operative Day on 1 July 2023, Mr Ariel Guarco, the president of ICA, unveils his yearly message commemorating the event.
Dear Co-operative friends,
Today, we want to celebrate a date that has united, included and empowered us, every year for a century now. Over time, we have encountered both advances and setback in the way in which we have addressed the needs of others. We have overcome times of considerable pain and uncertainty; some more recently than others, and some that have endured until now.
Pressing issues of social and economic inequality continue to plague our world, and they must be resolved. Whilst we constantly innovate in our production and consumption methods, the world is calling out for us to care for its precious ecosystems.
All this time, for almost two centuries now, a system has been available to enable us to organise our economic and social relationships; a system that can make sustainable development of people, communities and nations a reality. This system is the model we strive to continue strengthening, to ensure the world advances in the direction of a truly sustainable future.
Our continued collaboration is crucial, and we must keep creating links between the more than 3 million co-operatives on every continent. We must keep fighting for national governments and international organisations to turn their existing recognition of our sector into a consolidated cooperative paradigm, covering the system of international relationships as a whole.
This the only way we can think ahead to a future governed by equity, inclusion, and a firm foundation of democracy across the political and economic spheres.
Co-operatives build a better world! We must show that the growth and prosperity can – and should – go hand-in-hand with decent work, reduced inequality and peace. Let’s take advantage of this 1st of July to show the whole world how we’ve done it in the past, do it in the present, and will continue to do so in the future.
Let’s be proud of our co-operative identity!
Happy International Day of Co-operatives!