Judging by the number of international organizations planning to participate, the International Summit of Cooperatives is an event that clearly extends well beyond the cooperative movement.
The 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives is proud to welcome several prominent international organizations actively involved in the current economic debates. Their presence at the Summit will be not doubt contribute to the development and revitalization of the cooperative movement around the world.
One of these organizations is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Summit is pleased to welcome its representative, Antonella Noya.
Ms. Noya, a Senior Policy Analyst with the OECD in France, will take part in the first round table on Tuesday, October 9, entitled New economic and financial order: What the future holds for cooperatives.
We took advantage of Ms. Noya’s participation in the Summit to ask her a few questions:
1. How do cooperatives contribute to the OECD’s mission?
The OECD’s mission is to help OECD member countries formulate and implement their various public policies. Through its analyses and evaluations, the OECD helps member countries create stronger and fairer economies. For the past two decades, we have been analyzing how the social economy and the cooperative movement have helped create economic wealth and social well-being. This work has allowed us to advise policy-makers on the sector’s development so it is supported by appropriate public policies that recognize the value added of entire segments of the cooperative movement, in terms of social cohesion, sustainable local development and social innovation.
2. What is your motivation for speaking at the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives? What is the importance of this Summit for the OECD?
It was very important to the OECD’s Secretary General that we participate in this Summit, because it gives us the opportunity, on the one hand, to present the results of the work we have done on the social economy and discuss it with other participants, and on the other hand, to contribute to the debates that we hope will stimulate new ideas that could be food for thought for us in the future. The goal of our work is to create an economy based more on the real needs of people. We recognize that many cooperatives have the ability to meet these needs, and often in an innovative way.
3. Do you think cooperatives will be expected to take on a more dominant role economically and socially around the world?
Figures show that the cooperative movement has always played an important role in our economies, and it has the ability to overcome crises, including the current one. Although it is difficult to obtain official data, the few national and international studies that have been conducted seem to indicate that this sector is more resilient to the setbacks of the current crisis than the private sector. Cooperative values and practices seem to provide better protection against market swings and overly-opportunistic behaviours. The crisis we are currently experiencing is essentially a crisis of values and trust, in the markets, of course, but also in the governments’ ability to take appropriate action. It therefore represents an opportunity for the cooperative movement to reconfirm its values and practices and show that there are other ways of behaving, by putting people, their needs and aspirations at the forefront of all economic action. There is no doubt that cooperatives are facing a difficult environment, and the challenge is to stay the course, resisting the temptation to stray away from their ethical principles.
4. As one of the outcomes of the International Summit of Cooperatives, participants will be asked to adopt a Joint Declaration. What is the one essential component that you think should be included?
It seems to me that the economic model that cooperatives represent needs to be better understood and analyzed so it can continue to attract talented people and provide inspiration for how things can be done in a world craving economic action that has meaning. The cooperative movement’s image needs to be modernized, emphasizing its ability to be innovative and meet the current challenges and real needs of the general public.
About the OECD
The mission of the OECD is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.