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The V Cooperative Summit of the Americas has started

24 October 2018

Over 1500 people from around the world have come to the opening of the most important Cooperative event of the year which will take place from October 23rd – 26th at the Hotel Panamericano in Buenos Aires.

The Gran Panamericano Conference Room was the site for the start of the V Cooperative Summit of the Americas, an event that brings together the most important members of the movement from around the world. It has been organized by Cooperatives of the Americas (ACI America) and the Cooperative Confederation of the Argentine Republic (Cooperar, for its acronym in Spanish), along with member organizations from the International Cooperatives Alliance in Argentina.

Under the tagline “The Cooperative Movement a time of Global Challenge”, the Summit’s main objective is to “strengthen cooperative organizations socially and from a corporate stand point, through dialogue with the entire social and solidarity economy, as actors to promote the defense of the planet and the construction of a financial system to benefit sustainable development”.

Ariel Guarco President of the International Cooperatives Alliance (ACI, for its acronym in Spanish) and Cooperar, and Ramón Imperial Zuñiga, President of the Administrative Council of ACI Americas, gave welcome speeches at the inauguration of the V Summit.

“Dear friends of the cooperative movement, welcome to Argentina, welcome to the V Cooperative Summit of the Americas. The cooperative movement in our country opens its arms to you with great joy and embraces you in a heartfelt hug”, stated Guarco at the beginning of his speech.

“We have been working with great dedication for more than a year so that your stay in our country becomes an unforgettable experience for you all, in hopes that you may make the most of this cooperative summit” said the President of the ACI. “It is our desire that these next few days become a great opportunity to exchange experiences with cooperative movement members from this and other continents. I sincerely hope that you can make the most of these days, that you enjoy the V Cooperative Summit of the Americas and that you may all return home knowing that the commitment you show every day at each of your cooperative organizations will be reflected from the results obtained here.” he stated.

Imperial Zuñiga, after a brief recap of previous summits celebrated by Cooperatives of the Americas, stated that the tagline chosen for the V Summit has them pondering and questioning “what can we do for the continental and global cooperative movements in order to address and face the serious global challenges today. Many of them are already affecting the economy of the different countries; excessive concentration of wealth, lack of social and financial inclusion and work robotization. We need to strongly maintain the principles and values of the cooperative movement, but at the same time evolve in order to confront today’s challenges.”

Mr. Imperial Zuñiga congratulated the entire auditorium and assured that thousands of people would like to participate in the V Summit, which is why “the 1,500 people present are responsible for analyzing all aspects in the name of the 1.3 billion cooperative members around the world. We hope to obtain important conclusions that will truly help the movement.”

At the end of the official inauguration of the V Summit, the President of the Uruguayan Confederation of Cooperatives (Cudecoop), Graciela Fernández, gave a master conference at the Gran Panamericano Conference Room.

“It is special a special occasion for us to be here today because we can still recall the “feel” of the Summit that took place in Uruguay (2016), it is a wonderful experience and we know how much the cooperative movement of Argentina is enjoying this time” Fernández stated. She also added: “We believe the Summit is a redefining of sorts of the cooperative principle which is ‘Cooperation among cooperatives’.

“Today’s international language that is looking for a resolution to these global challenges is the same language we all speak every day. It is the language of cooperation, collaboration, and community and it has a single translation, which is the language of life”, said the President of Cudecoop.

Fernandez asked that the cooperative movement be recognized by legislations and also questioned commercial protectionism from countries in America and Europe: “The protectionist free trade affects the principles of democracy: Freedom and equality.” she stated.

Finally, the Uruguayan director argued that “The only thing we cannot do as cooperative members is to remain perplexed before global challenges. We have the tools to move ahead.”