More than 2,600 participants and personalities of the cooperative movement from 85 countries took part in the International Summit of Cooperatives held in October in Quebec, and organized jointly by the Desjardins cooperative group, St Mary’s University and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). Bruno Roelants, Secretary General, represented CICOPA together with Arildo Mota Lopez, President of CICOPA-Americas, and Rebecca Kemble, President of CICOPA-North America.
The Summit analysed and proposed solutions to the current problems caused by the crisis and strived to consolidate the influence of the cooperative movement in the socio-economic, political and global panoramas. Therefore, the activities (round tables, conferences and workshops, including preparatory conferences) were focused on the economic, financial, social and environmental challenges cooperatives have to face. It included a specialized forum on worker cooperatives, with concrete cases from Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Italy and the United States being presented. In addition, a pre-event conference of worker cooperatives was organised on 8th October by the “Réseau de la coopération du travail” in Quebec, on the topic: “What are the main components of an optimal governance model for worker cooperatives?”.
CICOPA Secretary General Bruno Roelants participated in the plenary round table “Cooperatives and mutuals, a distinctive and effective business model – an alternative to the prevailing business model”, together with representatives from McKinsey and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, as well as the International Labour Ooganisation (ILO) and EURICSE. He shared the results of the surveys conducted for four years by CICOPA and CECOP-CICOPA Europe on the resilience of cooperatives to the crisis, and presented a critical view to a study presented on the same topic by McKinsey from the point of view of conventional businesses.
Bruno Roelants also appeared in CICOPA’s name at the pre-Summit academic conference Imagine 2012 as commentator to Claudia Sanchez Bajo’s presentation “Is the Debt Trap Avoidable”. This presentation, like the others at the Imagine 2012 conference, contributed to challenging the conventional vision of “growth”, from an economic (debt, instability of the system), social (inequality) and environmental (energy, climate etc) points of view, suggesting that cooperatives could strongly contribute to solving these critical global problems. These warnings were eventually relayed at the Summit itself and echoed by keynote speakers such as Jacques Attali, Riccardo Petrella and Nouriel Roubini. It was decided that the Quebec Summit would turn into a regular biannual event, with the next session in 2014.
Photo: CICOPA Secretary General Bruno Roelants speech at the Quebec International Summit of Cooperatives
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037