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Year end message from the President of ICA on the New Year and Christmas

Dear colleagues!

A difficult year ends. Probably one of the most complex years that we have
had to go through in recent decades. We have been frightened and worried
by a global pandemic. It made us think about the present and the future of our planet, about the need to take care of people.

In addition to the health crisis caused by the pandemic, the existing social and economic problems have deepened. The environment also suffer from the unbridled advance of unsustainable modes of
production.  In many countries, people still suffer from armed conflicts, democracy is
regularly undermined, and discrimination based on ethnicity,
social class  and gender is commonplace in many of our societies.

Cooperatives have never been indifferent to the complex processes taking place in the modern world; they provide precisely the services that help to improve the future. After all, cooperative enterprises are present in every country and are committed to serving the needs and aspirations of all people. Our values and principles, essential to our identity, encourage us  to act as lead discussants that are taking place across the globe in ending the crisis.

In 2020, on the occasion of our 125th anniversary, we had many very fruitful discussions online. Despite the distance, the regions, sectors, networks and committees of the ICA, of which we are composed, provided valuable information, suggestions and shared thoughts on the moving forward to a post-pandemic phase that will have a cooperative influence. The main concern of ICA has been and will continue to be the human being.

The suffering and uncertainty we’ve been through could be overcome only by the whole world. For example, health cooperatives serve those in need with dignity, production cooperatives guarantee the provision of food to residents in rural and urban areas, financial and insurance cooperatives have adjusted their tools to provide for families and businesses when needed, and housing cooperatives continue to guarantee people’s access to decent and affordable housing.

These and many other examples have made me proud of cooperation. Proud to be President of an organization that believes that our cooperative identity can help reform the economy, to focus on  eco-friendly environment.

Today I want to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the more than one billion cooperative members out of three million cooperatives that have made it through the hard 2020 with the citizens of our societies.

In high spirits, I would like to invite you to join us at the ICA 33rd World Cooperative Congress to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea from December 1 to 3, 2021. There we’ll celebrate our cooperative unity.

I do hope you, your families, friends, and colleagues ended the year 2020 healthy and prosperous. Be happy in 2021!

Ariel Guarco