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Greetings from ICA President Ariel Guarco on the occasion of International Day of Cooperatives

Dear friends, cooperators!

As we all know, today the whole of humanity is in the midst of an awful pandemic, at stake is life. We have suffered a global economic fiasco that will go down in history. We are experiencing health, social and economic crises. The actions of the people over the last decade have plunged us into extraordinary conditions of social inequality and deep ecological imbalance.

We have been warning that a linear mode of unhindered production and consumption will lead us to a point of no return in a mere decade. That’s what happened. Since 1990, global carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 50 percent. Today, 800 million people are vulnerable to severe drought, toxic air pollutants, rising sea levels and frequent and powerful natural disasters.

That’s why I would like to use International Day of Cooperatives to focus on action to preserve the climate, to call on our communities to mobilize around the goal of a healthier, fairer and more integrated economy. On this planet, our common home, there are hundreds of thousands of ways for development. But sustainable development is not a utopia.

On a global scale, the cooperative economy integrates more than one billion members and generates employment for 10% of the world’s employed population. The turnover of the 300 largest cooperatives is equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product of the world’s sixth economy.

Even in the most difficult circumstances, the cooperative movement is doing its utmost to protect communities and help them overcome health, social and economic emergencies. Responsible attitude to our planet goes hand in hand with our collective efforts. Today, cooperatives are also called to become key players in addressing the urgent challenges of the pandemic that afflicts the world.

Despite the pain and uncertainty, the personal and shared tragedy we are going through this difficult time, I would like to congratulate the work that cooperatives are doing around the world. In this activity, everyone’s efforts matter. I ask you not to stop, to continue to work with communities, and to say out loud: we can change the adverse effects of climate change if we build another economy together based on cooperative values and principles.

There is still time! Let’s tackle climate changes together!

Sending you all my warmest regards and wishing you a Happy International Day of Cooperatives.

Ariel Guarco

President of International Cooperative Alliance