ILO COOP participates in the conversation with C20 Sherpas on the importance of having cooperatives take part in the G20 discussions

On July 7, 2021 ILO COOP participated in the conversation with C20 Sherpas on the importance of having cooperatives take part in the G20 discussions, as organized by the Italian Cooperative Alliance and the International Cooperative Alliance.

News | 30 July 2021
The webinar was organized by the Italian Cooperative Alliance and the International Cooperative Alliance to explore the contributions of cooperatives. G20 is the international forum that brings together world’s major economies. Since December, 2020, Italy holds the Presidency of the G20, with an agenda that has three main pillars: People, Planet and Prosperity. Under the Italian Presidency, cooperatives are represented in Business 20 (B20), the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community, and Civil 20 (C20), the G20’s engagement group for civil society actors.

The moderator of the event, Mr. Giuseppe Guerini, the ICA G20 Working Group Co-Chair and the C20 Coordinator of the Italian Cooperative Alliance Working Group, noted how cooperative representatives are in four out of eight B20 task forces and in all of the eight task forces of the C20. Mr. Ariel Guarco, the ICA President provided opening remarks to the webinar, which was followed by an address by Howard Brodsky, the ICA G20 WG Chair, who noted that the working group was set up to bring the voice of cooperatives to G20 Summit discussions.

The first speaker on the first panel was Vincent Marangu, Director, Cooperatives Banking Division at the Cooperative Bank of Kenya, who spoke about the critical role that financial cooperatives play in Kenya in serving underserved rural communities. The second speaker of the panel, Alexandra Wilson, a member of the ICA Board and Vice-President of the Cooperatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), noted the wide range of cooperative engagement in the Canadian economy from very small indigenous artisanal cooperatives to very large cooperatives in retail business. She emphasized the need for cooperatives to address contemporary challenges like gender equality. Her presentation was followed by Osamu Nakano, International Relations Officer of Japan Workers' Co-operative Union (JWCU), who highlighted experiences of worker cooperatives in the Asia-Pacific region. He also noted that he expects more worker cooperatives to emerge in Japan in the coming years with the adoption of a new worker cooperative legislation in 2020. The first panel was conclude by a presentation by Dr Carlos Zarco, President of the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO), who talked about how health cooperatives have risen up to respond to the challenges around the COVID19 global pandemic. He provided examples of the ways health cooperatives around the world have worked with local and national governments in filling the gaps in the public healthcare system during the crisis.

The two speakers of the second session in the webinar were the Italian C20 Sherpas Riccardo Moro and Valeria Emmi. Mr Moro noted that it was important for cooperatives to be a part of the political process of G20 and to raise the concerns of cooperative members from around the world. Valeria Emmi highlighted recommendations of the eight working groups in C20, with an emphasis on gender equality, and healthcare.

Closing remarks to the event were provided by Simel Esim, Head of ILO’s Cooperatives Unit, and Mauro Lusetti, the President of the Italian Cooperative Alliance.

Noting the strong historical ties between the ILO and the cooperative movement, Ms. Esim underlined that these relations are not only confined to the exchanges between ILO and ICA officials in headquarters but take place on a daily basis across countries, regions, and sectors. She provided highlights of the rich tapestry of collaborations (Japan, Jordan, Uganda, Sri Lanka Italy and Colombia) on research, policy dialogue, study tours, training activities, and joint events. She said that it was very encouraging to see the engagement of cooperatives in the B20 and C20 working groups under the Italian Presidency of G20.

She concluded her remarks by mentioning that the ILO’s March 2021 governing body decided to place a general discussion on “Social and Solidarity Economy and a human-centred future of work” on the agenda of the 2022 International Labour Conference. She suggested that this is an opportunity for cooperative movements in the G20 countries, and beyond, to advocate with their governments to ensure cooperatives are well represented in this discussion.

In his concluding remarks, the President of the Italian Cooperative Alliance, Mr Mauro Lusetti, talked about the role played by social cooperatives in Italy. He said that the main pillars of the Italian presidency of G20, people, prosperity and planet, are well aligned with cooperative values and principles. He noted the importance of the wellbeing of people and planet, in ensuring a prosperous and sustainable world for future generations.. He also extended an invitation to the participants of the webinar to ICA’s side event during the C20 Summit on 5-6 October.

A full recording of the webinar could be viewed here.

The full programme for the event can be viewed here.