World Co-operative Congress to take place in Seoul in December 2021


The event had been scheduled by the International Cooperative Alliance for November 2020 but was postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) has announced that the 33rd World Cooperative Congress will be held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea from 1 to 3 December 2021. The theme for this event will be “Deepening our Cooperative Identity” to strengthen the cooperative movement’s role in addressing global challenges and also explore avenues to improve lives at the local and global levels.

The original Congress was due to be held in November 2020 in Seoul but had to postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. This year marks both the 125th anniversary of the ICA, which was founded in 1895 to promote the interests of cooperatives worldwide, and the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the ICA Statement on the Cooperative Identity which was adopted on 21 September 1995.

Next year’s event will be the 33 World Co-operative Congress and takes the theme ‘Deepening our co-operative identity’. Over 1,000 delegates are expected to attend the event in Seoul to explore a range of themes that are linked to the co-operative identity.

Ariel Guarco, President of the ICA, said: “I’m delighted to be able to confirm that the 33rd World Cooperative Congress will be going ahead next year in Seoul from 1-3 December 2021 with the theme ‘Deepening our Co-operative Identity’. This year, we have witnessed worldwide the rise of the next generation of young leaders, who are committed to erasing social inequality and fighting against climate change – issues which are tied in with the unbalanced impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The conference will therefore be an opportunity to share experiences of resilience, and discuss how co-operatives can overcome global challenges. Together we can create a better, fairer and more inclusive world for generations to come.”

The ICA has also recently launched a dedicated website featuring information on the congress and how to register interest. The apex is also inviting interest from partners who may like to sponsor the congress.

All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives (ACFSMC) have signed on as the premiere Pillar Partner for this event. This signals ASFSMC ‘s commitment to make this event a success and their dedication to bringing together the cooperative movement during a challenging yet critical time. 

Li Chunsheng, the President of ICA Asia and Pacific (ICA AP), and also Vice President of ASFSMC  said: “This event will allow the cooperative movement to strengthen our relationships with each other, our role in improving the global economy, and to share with our partners that we have proven solutions to many of the global challenges the world is facing today.”

The congress will be preceded by two preparatory events – the ICA Cooperative Research Conference and an International Cooperative Law Forum from 28 to 30 November 2021.

Park Cha Hoon, President of the Council of Korean Cooperatives, co-hosts for this event, said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming cooperators to Seoul. At the 33rd World Cooperative Congress we will get a glimpse of what cooperative identity means for Korean cooperatives, and how co-ops can help drive sustainable development in communities.”

Mr Guarco added: “Co-operation is not only for emergencies. Co-operation is the alternative way to build a fairer, more balanced and, fundamentally, less fragile economy in the face of global challenges. Our co-operative identity, values and principles have remained strong and are the foundation for co-operatives worldwide to help their communities survive and cope following the pandemic.”

  • To learn more about the event, cooperators, sponsors and interested visitors can visit the new dedicated website

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