Co-operators from around the world are invited to attend the International Co-operative Alliance’s (ICA) Global Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on 14-17 October.
The event is organised by the ICA with support from the country’s co-operative movement and the government of Rwanda.
In a letter to members ICA president Ariel Guarco said the conference aimed to boost international recognition of the co-operative movement and reinforce its role as a key player in sustainable development.
“We will show the contribution of co-operatives in different sectors and regions to sustainable development, including economic, social and environmental,” he wrote. “The vital contribution that co-operatives make to the SDGs cover each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, who leads the implementation of policies and programs that foster the emergence or consolidation of co-operatives around the world.”
Mr Guarco said the ICA would set up a preparatory committee of representatives from its sectoral and regional organisations to create a programme for the conference. In January he went to Rwanda where he met representatives from the country’s co-operative movement and visited local co-ops.
The three-day event will feature good practice presentations from co-operators and experts in the field of development as well as keynote speeches. The results of the ICA’s work regarding the contribution of co-operatives to the SDGs will also be presented.
In addition to gathering co-operators, the conference will bring together other civil society actors such as development agencies, policy makers, institutional partners, high-level government officials, representatives from international and regional organisations and researchers.
And there will be exhibition space for co-ops to showcase their work, particularly the potential of co-operative value chains and co-operative fair trade.
“The co-operative movement and the government of Rwanda are expecting a big crowd in Kigali,” said Mr Guarco. “We must, as co-operators, take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity for exposure and advocacy that the conference offers to assert our collective values and experiences as well as to articulate the public policies that we need.
“Our conference on Cooperatives for Development promises to be very interesting, intense and rewarding. I extend co-operative greetings, and I look forward to seeing each and every one of you.”
The conference will be followed by the ICA’s General Assembly on 17 October. The preliminary programme will be available shortly.