ICA General Assembly elects new global board in Seville

Delegates also heard from Coop Ukraine

The ICA General Assembly elected 15 directors to its board at its meeting in Seville yesterday (20 June).

A total of 22 candidates stood for the board. Those elected are:

  • Márcio Lopes de Freitas, Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB), Brazil
  • Aditya Yadav, Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative Limited (IFFDC), India
  • Giuseppe Attilio Dadda, Alleanza Cooperative Italiane, Italy
  • George Magutu Mwangi, Kenya Union of Savings & Credit Cooperatives (KUSCCO), Kenya
  • Iñigo Albizuri Landazabal, Confederación Española de Cooperativas de Trabajo Asociado (COCETA), Spain
  • Zhenhong Cai, All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives (ACFSMC), China
  • Martin Lowery, National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA), USA
  • Toru Nakaya, JA Zenchu (Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives), Japan
  • Bahman Abdollahi, Iran Chamber of Cooperatives (ICC), Iran
  • María Eugenia Pérez Zea, Asociación Colombiana de Cooperativa (Ascoop), Colombia
  • Krasimir Ignatov, Central Cooperative Union Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Dato’ Kamarudin Ismail, Malaysian National Cooperative Movement, Malaysia
  • Simona Cavazzutti, Confederación de Cooperativas Rurales del Paraguay (CONCOPAR), Paraguay
  • Marjaana Saarikoski, SOK Corporation, Finland
  • Alexandra Wilson, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, Canada

The ICA members at large results can be found here.

The General Assembly also ratified the elections of Ana Aguirre as respresentative of the ICA Youth Committee; Dr Carlos Zarco from Spain as president of the International Health Cooperative Organisation (IHCO); Sunghee Lee from the Republic of Korea as president of the International Cooperative Agricultural Organization (ICAO); and Petar Stefanov from Bulgaria as president of Consumer Cooperatives Worldwide (CCW).

Related: ICA re-elects Ariel Guarco as president

“For me this will be the continuation of a huge learning path as well as an exciting new phase for the youth network,” said Ms Aguirre, adding that the Youth Committe would be launching a Youth Action Plan in November.

Statutory amendment for the sectoral representation in the ICA board

A motion for the sectoral organisations of the ICA to each have a seat on the ICA board for the 2021-2025 mandate was adopted. It said that having direct board representation would contribute to closer co-operation between regions and sectors and to greater visibility, transparency and accountability not only on the board itself but also across the governance bodies of the ICA as a whole.

To approve this request, Article 15 of the Articles of Association was amended.

Director-General’s Report and financial statement

ICA director general Bruno Roelants presented his report of the ICA’s work since its previous General Assembly in Kigali in 2019. The apex focused on four areas of work, as per its strategic plan adopted in 2019 – the Second Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade. The four themes are promotion of the co-operative identity, growth of the co-operative movement, co-operation among co-operatives and Contribution to global sustainable development.

Mr Roelants mentioned several initiatives, including hosting the World Cooperative Congress and organising a roundtable with government officials in Seoul in December 2021, carrying out a Legal framework analysis as part of the Coops4Dev project, and engaging with UN bodies and the G20 working groups. The ICA is also preparing to launch a Global Cooperative Impact Fund, said Mr Roelants.

Participants also heard a report on the ICA’s 2020-2021 financial statements presented by Greg Wall, chair of its Audit and Risk Committee.

He said subscription income had increased by 3% in 2021 compared with 2020 despite the pandemic.

He argued that the ICA still has a stable financial status compared to 2020.

The ICA global office suffered a loss of €277,770 in 2021 (from a loss of €40.380 in 2020). This was due to a loss of €366,300 from the World Cooperative Congress because of event attendance being lower than expected.

However, all ICA regional offices made surpluses in 2021: ICA Africa – €26,052 in 2021, ICA Asia Pacific (€68,011), ICA Americas (€119,287).

Cooperatives Europe and DotCoop were not included, as they were separately established, respectively

under the Belgian and the US law. Cooperatives Europe made a surplus of 104,450 in 2021 while DotCoop, in which the ICA holds a 50% share made a surplus of 54,849.

After his presentation the general assembly approved the 2021 accounts and discharged the auditor. The budget for 2022 was also approved.

Supporting Ukraine

GA delegates heard from Illia Gorokhovskyi, chair of Coop Ukraine, who said Ukrainian co-operators had planned to attend but were forced to change their plans by the Russian invasion.

He said 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced so far by the conflict; figures from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) show that 4,569 civilians, 304 of them children, have been killed during Russia’s attack as of June 19. 

Ukraine’s co-op sector has been harmed in the conflict, said Mr Gorokhovskyi, with damage to co-ops in several parts of the country. He estimates that hundreds of co-operatives have been affected by the war with thousands of co-operators losing their homes and their co-ops.

“What was built over generations was destroyed in a matter of minutes by Russian troops,” he said.

Thanking countries who have supported Ukrainian co-ops, he said that all assistance would go to support co-ops and co-operators affected by the crisis.

“It is the opportunity to show that mutual assistance and solidarity are fundamental principles of co-operation,” he added. “This assistance is not only for Ukraine, but also for yourselves and your future.

“I believe in God, in peace and I believe in justice. I love my country and I ask that you stand with me in co-operation.”

The call to action launched by Coop Ukraine was echoed by the Polish co-operative movement, whose representative called on the global co-operative movement to support Ukraine and those facing famine due to the war.