Cooperation among cooperatives: Learning from the best

28 Mar 2024

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) knows that good things happen when cooperators gather. Minds connect, people get inspired, and groups get energized. At ICA's in-person events, networks are created in hallways and coffee shops, ideas are shared over meals, and sessions are buzzing with active debate to create tangible pathways to affect change. During the virtual events, chat boxes are filled with greetings, questions and comments, and people digitally link with each other via instantaneous emails or social media platforms across many time zones.

The ICA is a conduit to boost cooperation among cooperatives. These events give cooperatives the environment to share best practices, introduce new ideas, support each other, and make actionable plans to take home. For the ICA, these events help the team to deepen their knowledge on how to be a strong voice for the cooperative movement on the global stage.

Members of the ICA who attend these rich global gatherings each year, cooperate with each other and learn from the best.

During the pandemic, these gatherings didn't stop. Virtual events began in 2020, and when the global lockdown was lifted, 2021 ended with the ICA World Cooperative Congress in Seoul. Cooperative connections remained strong and revealed determination and resilience.

Today, ICA's in-person events and online webinars continue to be an effective channel of communication, and members have more access and opportunities to connect with each other. Here are a few highlights on what's coming up for 2024, and a look back at previous ICA events:

Coming up: 2024

The cooperative movement is invited to the ICA Global Conference, in New Delhi, India from 25 to 30 November 2024. An ICA General Assembly will also be held, and meetings of ICA’s Sectoral Organisations, Regional Offices and Thematic Committees.

Looking back:

  1. 2021 ICA World Cooperative Congress, Seoul

    After the pandemic forced everyone to stay home, the World Cooperative Congress in 2021 was the first in-person event in two years. It was organized and planned by the ICA team located in many countries, and the theme was “Deepening our Cooperative Identity.” This Congress was programmed to discuss why the cooperative identity is needed now more than ever; show cooperative resilience by sharing experiences and testimonies; and discuss how cooperatives can significantly contribute to the global economic, social and environmental reconstruction.

  2. The 2021 Global Youth Forum - Cooperative Entrepreneurship

    The pandemic didn't slow the youth down from gathering. The ICA, supported by the European Commission, in collaboration with the ICA Youth Network, hosted the second Global Youth Forum. Produced within the framework of coops4dev, a partnership with the EU, this event brought together 180 young entrepreneurs from around the world and offered them quality training sessions to improve their skills, knowledge, and motivation.

  3. ICA Global Conferences and General Assemblies

    Every two years, the cooperative movement organises global conferences. At the 2019 Global Conference in Kigali, the ICA 2020-2030 Strategic Plan titled "A People-Centered Path to a Second Cooperative Decade'' was approved. This plan proposes a new, people-centered path for globalization by increasing the importance of cooperative action to serve cooperatives and their national structures. This ICA General Assembly also approved the "Declaration on Positive Peace through Cooperatives." This is a call to uphold and deepen the cooperative movement's commitment to positive peace. Learn more about ICA’s annual General Assemblies here.

  4. The Cooperative Identity Consultation Process

    Beginning in 2022, the ICA has hosted virtual events as part of the ICA's Cooperative Identity consultation process. The events focused on key issues of cooperatives' shared identity, and helped determine if the Statement on the Cooperative Identity has stood the test of time. The next one will be co-hosted with NCBA-CLUSA in the U.S. on March 28, 2024.

  5. The Role of Cooperatives in Repairing and Restructuring Global Value Chains

    In December, 2022, the ICA Entrepreneurship Think Tank (ICETT) held a webinar to evaluate the role cooperatives play in creating ethical and sustainable value chains, and what can be improved. This discussion marked the 2022 UN International Human Rights Day, and explored issues affecting global supply chains from climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

  6. Cooperatives and the G20

    The ICA has been participating in the G20 engagement groups since 2014 to strengthen partnerships between the international cooperative movement and G20 members. ICA’s work to engage with countries with the largest economies is showing results. The ICA G20 Working Group was established in 2020 consisting of members, and together, cooperatives have shown their impact and resilience in every region. As a result, the cooperative movement was highlighted by the Indian G20 Presidency several times in 2023. Learn more about cooperatives’ engagement in the G20 here.

  7. Members’ Chats

    Starting in 2023, the ICA launched "Members’ Chats" virtual events that feature informal conversations with members to get a deeper understanding of ICA's work to unite, promote, and develop cooperatives worldwide. Various topics are showcased to show the value of membership, like cooperative branding, policy and advocacy, statistics, and research. Recently, this program invited members to get to know ICA's new Director General Jeroen Douglas.

The ICA takes pride in supporting the global cooperative movement. Learn more about our events, who we are, and sign up to be a member today here!