10th Asia Pacific Co-operative Ministers’ Conference begins in Vietnam

Co-ops and government ministers are meeting in Hanoi this week to grow stronger partnerships for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals

The 10th Asia Pacific Co-operative Ministers’ Conference, ‘Visioning Ahead to 2030’, takes place this week in Vietnam, looking at how co-operatives and governments can work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Hosted in Hanoi from 18-21 April, the conference is a joint initiative of the International Co-operative Alliance – Asia Pacific (ICA-AP), the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA), the ministry of agriculture and rural development, the government of Vietnam.

“Visioning Ahead to 2030 is promoting stronger partnerships between governments and co-operative stakeholders in realising the SDGs,” said Balu Iyer, ICA-AP regional director.

“Partnership is considered crucial in this day and age. To bring about sustained economic democracy, co-operatives must work in partnership with key stakeholders. This is especially true at a time when inequality is deepening in the region despite the gains created by the capitalist system.

“Co-operatives offer an alternative model to the capitalist system as sustainable enterprises, which values are to be shared and recognised by their multiple stakeholders.”

Regional consultations organised by ICA-AP found that the success of co-operatives relies on healthy member-based co-ops and good governance – but that expansion and further advancement must be grounded in communities. They must also be supported by strong and strategic partnerships with governments and international and national organisations in the region.

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The conference will highlight the ways in which co-ops are contributing to achieving the SDGS; explore ways to strengthen partnerships between governments and co-operative stakeholders; and draw a road map to realising the potential of co-ops in sustainable development. It will be attended by ministers in charge of co-ops, representatives of governments, ICA-AP member organisations and international development agencies.

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