Annual Q&A: Ariel Guarco, president of the ICA

'The challenges are global but the answers are local, and it is in each territory that people organise themselves to co-operate and solve their needs'

How was last year for you and for the ICA? 

It has been a very significant year. The members of the International Cooperative Alliance had the opportunity to meet again, after the historic 33rd Congress held in Seoul, in December 2021.

The Assembly in Seville in June of this year was a magnificent meeting to exchange ideas, agree on proposals and ratify the direction of our organisation. In the context of emerging from the pandemic, even with an unstable global scenario, this year we were able to strengthen our ties and promote regional and sectoral inter co-operation, empowering young people, practising gender equality, betting on a growing dialogue with international organisations and feeling increasingly proud of our co-operative identity.

Related: Our coverage of the World Co-op Congress

What are your hopes for the future?

The hope is that we have more than enough capacity to overcome the social, economic and environmental challenges facing humanity. For almost two centuries, our business model has been responding to the difficulties faced by communities in different contexts, in all parts of the planet. Increasingly, governments and international organisations understand that we are a strategic ally to generate economic growth and, at the same time, distribute opportunities for the development and well-being to all people, leaving no one behind.

Our model has a proven track record. It builds harmonious relationships that strengthen democracy, inclusion and peace. This is vital at a time like this, when global geopolitical tensions are growing and there are so many difficulties in supplying basic goods such as energy or food. Finally, co-operatives have always guaranteed decent work, care for ecosystems and responsible production and consumption, which is why we can say that we are a fundamental tool for sustainable development that, moreover, is in the hands of each community.

As I always say, the challenges are global but the answers are local, and it is in each territory that people organise themselves to co-operate and solve their needs. This paradigm is consolidated and I am convinced that it is the one that can guide humanity towards a better future.

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