Message from the ICA Global Office on COVID-19 Pandemic

24 Mar 2020

Dear members,

Over the past few weeks, we have all closely followed the spread of COVID-19 and its evolving impact. On behalf of the ICA Global Office, I wish to convey that we are with you all and your communities in these unprecedented times of uncertainty. We are also with you in upholding together our cooperative values of solidarity, social responsibility and caring for others. Let me share with you what we are doing regarding the issue of the pandemic.

Prioritizing health and safety above anything else

We have been taking every possible step to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, complying with the measures enacted by the government, and we now work from home. We have of course complied with the World Health Organization guidelines, and kept abreast of information concerning changes affecting our daily life.

In this regard, we highly recommend you to consult the website of the World Health Organization to obtain the most reliable and recent information on the COVID-19 pandemic, and to visit the visual mapping elaborated by Johns Hopkins University and the medical journal The Lancet.

These links will help you further in taking appropriate action to safeguard the health of your staff and members.
Communicating the contribution of cooperatives
Representing around 12 percent of humankind, the cooperative movement is making a vital contribution to help cooperative members, families and communities, get through this crisis. A key example of such a contribution is made by health cooperatives that are represented by International Cooperative Health Organization (IHCO), one of ICA’s Sectoral Organizations, whose President Carlos Zarco and Director José Perez have sent us the following message:

In the face of the health emergency caused by the spread in many countries of the COVID-19 disease, the priority of health cooperatives is to collaborate with all their resources in the containment of the pandemic, aligning themselves at all times with the action measures recommended by the World Health Organization and by the competent health authorities. We also want to express that the professionals of the health cooperatives are making an enormous effort, like the entire health profession, to face the situation and try to guarantee the safety and well-being of both their patients and the rest of the population in the territory in which they carry out their activity” 
The ICA Global Office is in continuous consultation with the IHCO on the ongoing crisis.
Our thoughts and deepest thanks go to all doctors, nurses, medical staff and all workers in health cooperatives, for their devotion to duty, greatest professionalism and utmost selflessness.

Members can now share experiences and needs on our Loomio Platform
As a practical way for sharing and showcasing the hope and response that the cooperative movement has to offer during these uncertain times, we have opened a discussion platform for members. Members have been invited to share their ongoing experience, needs, including short term and urgent ones such as medical supplies, and more long-term ones. If you are a member and would like to join the discussion send Santosh Kumar an email at Please allow up to 24 hours for a response and approval to join the discussion.

Establishing a Cooperative Solidarity Fund to better tackle COVID-19 and its impact
We are also calling for solidarity with those in need by asking members to make financial pledges to a Cooperative Solidarity Fund to tackle COVID-19, that we will launch shortly. This call is based on our previous experience with funds raised and coordinated by the ICA to help cooperatives and their communities affected by extraordinary challenges following natural disasters like the 2011 tsunami and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, among others.

The Loomio platform mentioned above has a conversation thread on the new solidarity fund. Further information on this fund will be sent shortly to all of you.

Many of us are confined and facing difficulties of various sorts. We understand that this crisis has impacted many of you and this may continue for a few more months.  As a global community, we will get through this critical time together.
Take care and be in good health! 
Bruno Roelants
ICA Director General 




The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) knows that…