The Summit is a meeting ground and forum of reflection on joint solutions to increase the impact of cooperative actions on development in the Americas. It will conclude with a Declaration on strategic orientations in the cooperative sector to facilitate the desired transformation process and achieve its social mission in the current world context.
The objective of the III Summit is to foster integration of cooperatives as movement, and link actions with other actors toward social change in the Americas.
1. Analyze options for integrating social efforts to promote processes of social change
2. Debate strategic orientation of the cooperative sector in order to facilitate fulfillment of its social mission in the current global environment
3. Obtain institutional commitment to integration, aimed at increasing the impact of cooperative actions on development in the Americas
4. Examine challenges to growing the cooperative model without dissociation from its identity and responsibility to social development
Working documents will address four overall themes to be discussed beforehand at workshops in various countries, activities of the regional sectoral organizations and thematic committees, and roundtable discussions during the 3rd Summit in Cartagena:
1. Integration and Social Cohesion
2. Innovation for Transformation of Society
3. Growth, Internationalization and Identity
4. New Society and Cooperative Outlook
Each academic activity focuses on the interest of participants, independently of sector, type of activity or country of origin. Results will serve as guidance in drafting the “Declaration of Cartagena”.
The cooperative model is based on the sum of efforts, and likewise, integration will be addressed in a broader sense, studying paths for joint work toward the desired social change, in the conviction that the sum of collective power can accomplish goals difficult to achieve individually.
Through its membership, Cooperatives of the Americas brings together more than 42 000 primary societies, in turn grouping more than 242 million men and women, equal to 25% of the American continent’s estimated 954 million inhabitants. The themes planned for this third cooperative summit aim toward visualization of the potential influencing capacity of this 25 to transform power relations by channeling it toward service to the large majorities, impacting on the transcendental social changes our continent requires.
There is generalized consensus that socioeconomic development cannot be obtained without serious commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth wherein the less economically privileged contribute to growth and benefit from it, without compromising the resources of future generations. In this sense, Theme 1: Integration and Social Cohesion calls for joining efforts to achieve the desired changes, enabling the considerable force of the cooperative sector to be linked with other stakeholders so as to influence parameters of development, growth and welfare, with comprehensive democracy and wellbeing for all.
Due to their history and mission, cooperatives have a much more committed and balanced vision of their role in relation to development. It must be analyzed, however, whether they are prepared to respond efficiently to today’s fast-paced economic and technological changes, whether they are adequately communicating their value added to development, and whether their influence is rising as a result of their good democratic and administrative practices, in order to push the rest of the economy toward transformation of the current economic model. With Theme 2: Innovation for Social Transformation, the aim is likewise to analyze and visualize new cooperative models arising in response to changes in the context, and new strategies requiring investigation, innovation and different forms of collaboration.
Expansion of the cooperative model could also be a driving force for change in transnational business models. In Theme 3: Growth, Internationalization and Identity, more than reflection on the experience of the sixth cooperative principle (cooperation between cooperatives), the call is to discuss ways of maximizing the competitive advantage of cooperation and increasing cooperatives’ impact and scope at the regional and world level without adversely affecting cooperative identity. Hence, it is necessary to identify challenges and problems, but also opportunities for growth through internationalization.
At the current development stage of the region, there is a vital need for economic and social models enabling greater redistribution of wealth and another type of relation between human beings and nature. More than simply growth, poverty reduction is the best indicator of whether economic policies are effective. Humanity has the moral obligation to vanquish poverty, not only because it constitutes the greatest assault against human rights and freedoms, but also because for the first time in history, poverty derives from excluding systems rather than a scarcity of resources. The cooperative system can be an effective instrument for inclusive growth, and a powerful platform for social transformation toward equity. For this reason, Theme 4: New Society and Cooperative Prospective calls for visualizing challenges, limitations and opportunities in the cooperativism of the future as source of stability and social cohesion, whose business model prioritizes long-term sustainability with inclusive growth.