Today sees the grand opening of the International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec City.
With over 3,000 registrations, the Summit brings together executives and directors from the co-op and mutual worlds to discuss the major issues affecting the movements.
Over the next four days, co-operatives will be exploring the innovation of the sector, specifically looking at development, financing, employment, food security and health/social care.
Organised by Desjardins, the leading Canadian co-operative financial group, and co-hosted by the International Co-operative Alliance, the Summit will be opened later this afternoon by representatives from those organisations.
ICA president Dame Pauline Green will join co-host Monique Leroux, chair, president and CEO of Desjardins.
In a welcome message, Dame Pauline said the event should be an “essential part of any serious co-operatives’ diary”. She added: “Since the first International Summit, two years ago, significant things have happened. We have launched the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, and as a result we have seen the successful launch of the co-operative Marque. At the same time we have broken through the glass ceiling of international business representation and were present for the first time ever at the B20 conference. This has led to a series of recommendations to the G20 leaders who will meet in Australia in November.”
Ms Leroux said: “Our goal is to strengthen our business ties, get the information and tools we need to improve our management practices and support the growth of our co-operatives and mutuals. It is also important that we continue to showcase the benefits of co-operative action the world over. And we must work at developing a stronger voice with governments and decision-makers to ensure that laws and regulations are also adapted for the co-operative business model.
“Our Summit is an opportunity to examine global challenges related to employment, food security, health and social care services, and how co-operatives can contribute to addressing these challenges.”
The opening ceremony will hear from: Philippe Couillard, the premier of Quebec; Gilles Lehouillier, mayor of Ville de Lévis; Michelle Morin-Doyle, deputy mayor of Quebec City; and Denis Lebel, communities minister.
A message has also been sent from Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, who said: “Co-operatives are a model of excellence that has thrived around the globe. They encourage leadership, innovation and self-reliance and are important contributors to all sectors of the economy. Bringing together more than 2,500 participants from 100 countries, this biennial gathering is an occasion to examine the opportunities and challenges facing co-operatives and the impact they have at the local, national and global level.
“Canada’s co-operatives play a strategic role in our national economy. The health of our co-operative enterprises has been a key component of Canada’s strong economic performance despite uncertainties in the global economy. Our government is pleased to support this important summit.”
- For more updates from the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives, click here