World Cooperative Congress to take place in Seoul in December 2021

The event had been scheduled by the International Cooperative Alliance for November 2020 but was postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) announced the postponement of its World Cooperative Congress in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, to 1-3 December 2021. Originally scheduled for November 2020, the event had initially been put back to April because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

International congresses are held to mark historical moments for the
co-operative movement. The upcoming congress will be celebrating the ICA’s 125th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the Statement on the Cooperative Identity. The ICA was set up in 1895 following an international co-operative congress held in London.

Next year’s event will be the 33 World Co-operative Congress and takes the theme ‘Deepening our co-operative identity’. Over 1,000 delegates are expected to attend the event in Seoul to explore a range of themes that are linked to the co-operative identity.

Ariel Guarco, president of the ICA, said: “I’m delighted to be able to confirm that the 33rd World Cooperative Congress will be going ahead next year in Seoul from 1-3 December 2021 with the theme ‘Deepening our Co-operative Identity’. This year, we have witnessed worldwide the rise of the next generation of young leaders, who are committed to erasing social inequality and fighting against climate change – issues which are tied in with the unbalanced impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The conference will therefore be an opportunity to share experiences of resilience, and discuss how co-operatives can overcome global challenges. Together we can create a better, fairer and more inclusive world for generations to come.”

The ICA has also recently launched a dedicated website featuring information on the congress and how to register interest. The apex is also inviting interest from partners who may like to sponsor the congress.

The congress will be preceded by two preparatory events – the ICA Cooperative Research Conference and an International Cooperative Law Forum from 28 to 30 November 2021.

Park Cha Hoon, president of the Council of Korean Co-operatives, which is hosting the World Cooperative Congress, said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming co-operators to Seoul. At the 33rd International Congress we will get a glimpse of what co-operative identity means for Korean co-operatives, and how co-ops can help drive sustainable development in communities.”

Mr Guarco added: “Co-operation is not only for emergencies. Co-operation is the alternative way to build a fairer, more balanced and, fundamentally, less fragile economy in the face of global challenges. Our co-operative identity, values and principles have remained strong and are the foundation for co-operatives worldwide to help their communities survive and cope following the pandemic.”