A difficult year ends. Probably one of the most complex years that we have had to go through in recent decades. We have been surprised and afflicted by a global pandemic that has revealed the urgency to build a present and future that cares for the people and the planet.
In addition to the health crisis in which we are immersed is the increase in many pre-existing social and economic inequalities. The environment also continues to suffer from the unbridled advance of unsustainable modes of production and consumption.
In many places, people still suffer from armed conflicts, democracy is regularly undermined, and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender and social class is commonplace in many of our societies.
Cooperatives are not indifferent to this complex scenario that runs through our common home, because we are the living expression of our communities. They rely on the service cooperatives provide to build a future with responsibility and solidarity.
We are enterprises rooted in each territory, oriented to satisfy the needs and aspirations of all people, without leaving anyone behind. Our values and principles – essential to our identity, drive us to be protagonists of the debates that are taking place on a global scale to overcome these crises.
This year, on our 125th anniversary, we have had many very rich exchanges, almost always through the screens. Despite the distances, ICA’s regions, sectors, and the networks and committees that make up who we are, have provided valuable insights, proposals and reflections to move towards a post-pandemic stage with a strong cooperative imprint. Together, the organizations that bring ICA to life have shown that putting the person and the planet at the center can build a better world.
Faced with the suffering and uncertainty that surrounds us all this year, we are showing that solidarity is the way. The health cooperatives serve those who need it with dignity and communicate with members responsibly, the production cooperatives guarantee food and other basic goods in rural and urban areas, the financial and insurance cooperatives have readjusted their instruments to provide for families and businesses, worker cooperatives are resilient to not to lose sources of employment, and housing cooperatives continue to guarantee people’s access to decent and affordable homes.
These and many other examples have made me proud to be a cooperator. Proud to be the president of an organization that strongly believes that our cooperative identity can help redesign an eco-friendly, people-centered economy.
Today I want to acknowledge the enormous effort of more than one billion cooperative members of the three million cooperatives made to get through this hard year together with our communities. We did it by being convinced of the transformative power of cooperativism.
With that conviction, I invite you to walk together next year and meet in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from December 1 to 3, to celebrate our cooperative identity at the 33rd World Cooperative Congress.
I hope that you, your families and friends end with health and wellness this 2020.
|Our office will be closed from 25th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021 included. |
The ICA team wishes you a happy New Year in 2021!