Work Together (Archive)

What is the potential of cooperatives in the Asia Pacific region for sustainable development?

26 April 2017

Hosted in Hanoi from 18-21 April, the 10th Asia Pacific Cooperative Ministers’ Conference, ‘Visioning Ahead to 2030’, was a joint initiative of the International Cooperative Alliance-Asia and Pacific, the CICOPA member Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, and the ministry of agriculture and rural development of the government of Vietnam. It highlighted the ways in which cooperatives are contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), explored ways to strengthen partnerships between governments and cooperative stakeholders and drew a road map to fulfil the potential of cooperatives in sustainable development. A final declaration integrating the results of the conference will be disseminated soon by the International Cooperative Alliance Asia-Pacific organization.

CICOPA took the floor to share the experience of cooperatives in general, and those in industry and services in particular, on the transition from the informal economy to the formal economy, including in more modern forms such as IT platforms, and presented the preliminary results of the soon to be released second global report on cooperatives and employment.

“Partnership is considered crucial in this day and age. To bring about sustained economic democracy, cooperatives must work in partnership with key stakeholders. This is especially true at a time when inequality is deepening in the region despite the gains created by the capitalist system. Cooperatives offer an alternative model to the capitalist system as sustainable enterprises, whose values are to be shared and recognised by their multiple stakeholders”, said Balu Iyer, ICA-AP regional director, in an interview with Cooperative News here.

According to Vietnam’s Vice President, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Asia-Pacific cooperatives need to be renewed “to assert their role as gateways and support for the development of the cooperative economy”. In organising this event, Vietnam’s intention was to contribute concretely to the development of cooperatives in the interests of cooperatives, as well as the interests of the population, she added.
According to the Vietnamese leader, reforming the cooperative system is a priority to promote cooperation and cooperative activities, to stimulate innovative growth and reduce development gaps. Ms. Thinh stressed the need to strengthen the competitiveness and creativity of cooperatives, as well as their participation in the global value chain in this digital age. Statement to the Courrier de Vietnam here.

The Asia-Pacific Cooperative Ministers’ Conference (APCMC) is a unique gathering of ministers and government representatives in charge of cooperatives on the one hand, and ICA member organizations on the other. On average, it takes place every 4 years.