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# February 2024
Read on to keep yourself updated about the global cooperative movement.
ICA Director General visits UN Headquarters to discuss preparations for 2025 International Year of Cooperatives

On 29 and 30 January, the Director General of ICA, Jeroen Douglas, accompanied by the Director of Policy, Joseph Njuguna, visited the United Nations Headquarters in New York to plan for the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives in 2025. Concrete outcomes of these meetings include setting a roadmap for the launch of the International Year. 

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Exploring the cooperative model to empower African fashion designers

On 31st January, the International Trade Centre, the African Export–Import Bank , and the ICA launched a consultative dialogue with African fashion designers to explore the possibilities of creating a Pan-African fashion collective organised in a cooperative. This first meeting set the foundations for a feasibility study for a Pan-African fashion collective based on cooperative principles that reflects on the needs and context of the sector and the possible legal frameworks. 

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Cooperatives present at the launch of the B20 in Brazil

On 29 January, our Brazilian member OCB System represented the ICA at the B20 opening event. This event was organized by the National Confederation of Industry, in Rio de Janeiro, and counted with the participation of Brazil’s Vice-President, Geraldo Alckmin. Approximately 300 representatives and leaders from the 20 largest economies in the world have participated. Its goal was to inaugurate the technical cooperation actions led by Brazil’s Presidency.

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WCM launch webinar explores the report’s key findings

The ICA and the EURICSE hosted a webinar on 25 January to present the main findings of the 2023 World Cooperative Monitor. In its 12th edition, the WCM includes the Top 300 and sector rankings, employment data, and a special report on member benefits. The data collected shows that the world’s largest top 300 cooperatives continued to grow, registering a joint turnover of 2,4tn.

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ICA-Africa regional conference explores coops for a sustainable Africa

The 16th Africa Regional Assembly and Conference took place on November 14 and 15, 2023, at the Abuja Continental Hotel in Nigeria. The theme of the event was "Cooperatives for a Sustainable Africa." The conference explored the role of cooperatives in promoting inclusive development, empowered communities, and resilient and sustainable African economies.

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ICETT explores cooperative benefits to members and society

The International Cooperative Entrepreneurship Think Tank held its 14th Plenary Meeting on 28–29 November, to explore cooperatives’ benefits to members and the communities they operate in. Cooperative leaders representing ICETT members from nine countries met in Brussels to discuss this topic following its selection as the main thematic area for ICETT’s 2023-2024 working cycle. 

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4th International Forum on Cooperative Law

The 4th International Forum on Cooperative Law, took place in San Sebastian, Basque Country (Spain), bringing together more than 100 people from 20 countries. The Forum sought to explore the role of the 6th Cooperative Principle of 'Cooperation among cooperatives'. Participants also discussed the relationship with other principles from a legal point of view. 

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Over 900 leaders gathered at the 23rd Conference of Cooperatives of the Americas

Cooperatives, government officials, and representatives of international organisations debated the future of the Economy during the largest regional meeting of the year, held on November 29-30 in Comayagua, Honduras, and broadcast live via digital media. Over the two days, the more than 900 participants from across the continent and other regions explored a range of economic, social, and environmental issues while hearing from regional authorities, including representatives from the government of Honduras and other states in the region.

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16th ICA-AP Regional Assembly held in Manila, the Philippines

The 16th ICA-AP Regional Assembly, took place from 6-10 November 2023, in Manila, Philippines. The Philippines hosted the Regional Assembly after two decades (last held in 2003) under the aegis of the Philippines Cooperative Affiliates (PCA). The Assembly comprised the Cooperative Forum, Regional Board Meeting, various events organized by the regional sectoral and thematic committees, and the statutory meeting of the Regional Assembly.  The overarching theme this year was “Cooperatives: Our Common Agenda.”

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UNIDROIT discusses cooperatives in the context of Legal Structures of Agricultural Enterprises

The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), an independent intergovernmental organisation, is working on developing an international guide on Collaborative Legal Structures for Agricultural Enterprises (LSAE) to help farmers, their lawyers, and institutions choose the right form of collaboration based on their context and needs. Cooperatives are featured as one of the three forms being explored together with companies and multiparty contracts, and the ICA has been involved in the discussions. 

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Cooperatives in the spotlight at the European Social Economy Conference

The European Social Economy Conference brought together over 600 delegates to San Sebastián, Spain, to discuss how to continue to support the social economy. The event culminated with the adoption of the San Sebastian Manifesto, which saw the 19 signatory countries recognise the key role of social economy actors. The conference featured a range of panel discussions and workshops with speakers including cooperative leaders and practitioners. 

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CoopStar: Empowering research and the cooperative movement in Africa

The Cooperatives for a Sustainable Transformation in Africa (CoopStar) workshop - held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 3-6 December - has marked a crucial step forward in the journey towards establishing a project that will support the African cooperative movement to play a key role in the transition towards a circular, green and sustainable economy in the light of the UN Agenda 2030 and to boost sustainable cooperative entrepreneurship in Africa.

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ILO webinar presents updates on initiatives concerning statistics of cooperatives and the SSE

The International Labour Organisation hosted an online workshop on 14 December to discuss the latest updates on statistics of cooperatives and the social and solidarity economy, including the feasibility of the Guidelines concerning Statistics of Cooperatives in five pilot countries and the establishment of a UN technical working group on the SSE. During the workshop, the speakers shared highlights from two previous sessions on statistics of cooperatives and statistics of the SSE at the 21st International Conference of Labour Statisticians in October 2023. 

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Empowering rural youth and women through agricultural finance and cooperatives: ICAO-IFAD-CLT joint workshop

From November 27th to 29th, a joint workshop organized by the International Cooperative Agricultural Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Cooperative League of Thailand took place in Thailand. With the participation of 46 representatives from 11 countries, the workshop delved into the theme “The role of agricultural finance in fostering youth and women farmers and cooperative development.”

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COP28: Sustainable growth must involve cooperatives

Held between 30 November and 13 December in Dubai, the 28th UN Conference on Climate Change (COP28) brought together leaders from governments, businesses, NGOs, and civil society to find concrete solutions and preserve a livable climate. Cooperatives were involved in these conversations, with coop representatives taking part in a range of events. 

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Cooperating toward peace, justice and strong institutions: A principle 6 conversation under the cooperative identity consultation

The ICA and NCBA CLUSA joined forces to host a conversation in the framework of the Cooperative Identity Consultation, focusing on Principle 6 and UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions". The discussion touched on a range of issues, from how trade between cooperatives contributes to building peaceful relations in conflict zones to the role of existing cooperatives in supporting the emergence and strengthening of new cooperatives. 

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One year mapping international cooperative development

In its first year, the MiCDP portal proved to be a great platform to showcase the global impact of the work at the community level of Cooperative Development Organisations. It showcases comprehensive and extensive data of over 420 projects, including their contribution to the SDGs. In addition, aggregated data is provided to offer a picture of the impact of cooperative development globally. MiCDP is a joint initiative of OCDC and ICA.

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Patio: A global network of software cooperators democratising the tech sector

A global community of worker-owned cooperatives is working to boost intercooperation among cooperatives worldwide, by sharing knowledge, job opportunities, and human resources. Patio, which specialises in digital technology, communication, and design is a growing network currently comprising 69 cooperatives with over 800 cooperators across 19 countries. 

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In memoriam Professor Hans-H. Münkner

Professor Hans-H. Münkner died in November 2023, leaving behind his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. His work spanned well beyond the field of cooperative law and certainly way beyond cooperative law in Germany. Back in July, a group of cooperative law experts traveled to Marburg in Germany to meet him. He shared his views on the role of the ICA in advancing knowledge and practice in the podcast here which was produced with the support of the Co-operative News.

Read the obituary
A Pan African Fashion Alliance: the ICA shares the potential of the Cooperative enterprise type

The ICA was invited to participate in the Intra Africa Trade Fair in Egypt in November 2023 to help stakeholders in the rapidly emerging fashion sector in Africa understand the potential of cooperatives, in particular the benefits of establishing a Pan African Fashion Cooperative which would mutualise the abilities and ambitions of the stakeholders in the sector. 

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Global conference of Platform Cooperatives consortium adopts Thiruvananthapuram Declaration

The 9th Conference of the Platform Cooperatives Consortium took place from 30 November - 2 December in India, featuring over 88 speakers from 15 countries. Themed Roots of Resilience, the event was organised at the Kerala Crafts Village in Thiruvananthapuram, which was built and is managed by the ICA member Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society.

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ICA develops formal partnership with Ius Cooperativum Association

The ICA and the Ius Cooperativum Association, an independent network of cooperative lawyers, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to advance the knowledge and practice of cooperative law. The central motivation for the formal agreement is to combine efforts and expertise to further the research and practice of cooperative law for the benefit of ICA members while working on newer challenges and issues in cooperative law.

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ICA and Cooperative Housing International launch International Legal Research and Analysis Initiative

The ICA and Cooperative Housing International have joined forces for the International Legal Research and Analysis Initiative, a collaborative effort to amass information on cooperative housing law. In the absence of proper legal frameworks, cooperatives may encounter difficulties, whereas supportive regulations can foster growth and innovation. This knowledge empowers them to advocate for or recommend specific legal structures for housing cooperatives. 

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International Court of Justice invites the ICA to give its opinion on an ILO question concerning the right to strike

On 10 November 2023, the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation referred a dispute over the right to strike under the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to organise Convention to the International Court of Justice. Before suggesting appropriate next steps, six organisations, including the International Cooperative Alliance, were invited to provide written submissions for the Court's consideration.

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