The International Co-operative Alliance held its annual general assembly in Brussels on 28 June, with 200 delegates from over 60 countries in attendance. The event was open to attendees from ICA member organisations only.
ICA president Ariel Guarco said: “I want to thank you for being here and for having travelled from all over the world to take part in this Assembly, such an important moment for all co-operatives, where their members meet democratically to evaluate the task accomplished and plan the way forward. It is for me the clearest moment of exercising of our co-operative identity.
“And we come together here, in Brussels, the headquarters of our organisation, which is the common home of our movement.”
Guarco welcomed the return to in-person events, following the Covid-19 pandemic. “This is a face-to-face assembly, we put aside virtuality and hybrid events to meet face to face, hug and fraternise,” he said. “For this reason, I thank not only the organisations present here, but also those that have not been able to travel here, but that their proxies have sent, demonstrating their willingness to participate and their commitment and support for the International Cooperative Alliance.”
One of the issues on the agenda was the approval of the revision of the ICA’s Articles of Association (AoA) to ensure they are compliant with the latest Belgian Code on Companies and Associations.
The Assembly also featured the presentation of the new ICA Vice President, Dr Graciela Fernández Quintas, president of the Cooperatives of the Americas, who was recently elected by the ICA Regional Assembly for the Americas. Four sectoral representative candidates, nominated by the ICA Sectoral Organisations, were also welcomed: Prof Petar Stefanov, nominated by Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW); Giuseppe Guerini, nominated by International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA); Bhima Subrahmanyam, nominated by International Cooperative Banking Association (ICBA); and Not Dong-Jin, nominated by International Co-operative Fisheries Organisation (ICFO).
Delegates voted to approve the ICA’s annual report for the year 2022 and 2023 budget. ICA president Ariel Guarco also presented the organisation’s work plan for 2023, which will focus on the promotion of the co-operative identity, the growth of the co-operative movement, co-operation among co-operatives and the contribution to global sustainable development.