The Co-operative Summit of the Americas is an effort of the regional co-operative movement to analyse reality, discuss proposals, and define joint initiatives aimed at the development of co-operatives as part of the international community.
It is a process that includes previous witnessing activities held in different countries within the region, which provide input to the debate that will take place during the main event.
Since 2009, Co-operatives of the Americas has been organizing these regional Summits to reach agreements which are reflected in a Final Statement, to promote changes that impact both the co-operative organizations themselves and their communities. The previous editions were held in Guadalajara Mexico (2009), in Panama City, Panama (2012), in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (2014) and in Montevideo, Uruguay (2016).
The world faces critical hours because the prevailing development model has evidenced its limitations and its incompatibilities with the planet sustainability. Within the framework of the 2030 Agenda, the United Nations has made a dramatic appeal to change the way we produce and consume. Co-operatives together with mutuals and the rest of the social and solidarity economy organizations can promote participatory, democratic and solidary processes that can be decisive in addressing these global challenges.
During the IV Summit of the Americas held in Montevideo, co-operative paths were discussed to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Objectives, acknowledging the existing tensions between economic power and the fulfilment of these objectives, and concluding in the need to build bridges with all social sectors including, first and foremost, to all social and solidarity economy actors. On the basis of this debate, the V Summit intends to deepen the cooperative movement vision and proposals regarding the most relevant global issues.
In order to play a leading role in the construction of a sustainable world, co-operatives should have a global vision on critical issues, which guide efforts and enhance the work of each organization in its territory and in its community - every member of every co-operative must believe that their respective organizations are a mean to participate in those global issues that directly impact the present and future of their communities.
Strengthen co-operatives as social organizations and as a business modal in order to become actors to promote the defence of the planet and the construction of a financial system at the service of sustainable development, together with the entire social and solidarity economy.
This V Summit invites to work in three thematic areas. Two of them refer to global challenges on which we should build a common vision that boosts the efforts made by each organization: the defence of the planet and the construction of a financial system at the service of sustainable development. The third area proposes a discussion on the new paths of co-operative integration, a debate that looks strategic to strengthen and invigorates our movement. All co-operatives are affected by the environmental crisis, and all can help overcome it. All co-operatives are part or depend on the financial system to meet their objectives. All co-operatives can innovate in integration models, to respond to the challenges that transcend us as an organization.
One of the thematic areas of the IV Summit of Co-operatives of the Americas held in Montevideo in 2016 was defined as "Contribution of co-operatives to the Sustainable Development Goals" adopted as part of the 2030 Agenda approved by the United Nations. The Final Statement claims that "it is not possible to maintain the current trends of economic growth, industrialization, environmental pollution, food production and depletion of resources, without compromising future generations", the reason why Co-operatives of the Americas assumed these SDGs as its own, which was then reflected in the contents of its Strategic Plan for 2017/2020.
The V Summit intends to deepen the debate on specific actions linked to the SDGs, focusing the effort on the elaboration of proposals so that the co-operative movement "contributes to the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns, the hunger elimination and the sustainable management of natural resources". Thus, within the scope of initiatives linked to the 17 SDGs, the V Summit will focus the discussion on certain specific issues: the promotion of new production and consumption patterns, the management of natural resources and sustainable agriculture as a path towards “zero hunger”; all topics in which regional co-operatives has significant experiences that can be the foundation for a relevant contribution to the defence of the planet.
Specific objective: To analyse potentialities and feasible strategies for the contribution of co-operatives to the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns, to the elimination of hunger and to the sustainable management of natural resources.
Expected outcome: Proposals to be considered by the cooperative movement for the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns, the elimination of hunger and the sustainable management of natural resources.
One of the thematic areas of the IV Summit was defined as "Power, markets, democracy and development". Uno de los ejes temáticos de la IV Cumbre (Montevideo, 2016) fue "Poder, mercado, democracia y desarrollo". It was proposed as a result of the cooperative movement concern given the nature of ongoing globalization, where "the command of transnational corporations places the power of markets above the democratization processes". The Final Statement established that "there is no sustainable development if it is led by the concentrating financial capital".
In response to this concern, the V Summit intends to deepen the debate by reflecting on the co-operative vision on the financial system. It is a cross-cutting issue throughout the co-operative movement given its role in the economic concentration process that is jeopardizing the roads towards sustainable development on a global level. The so-called "financialization" of the economy has dissociated the profitability of capital from the production and consumption circuits, to sustain itself in the centre of the financial income appropriation. Reversing this requires both local initiatives and global proposals. Co-operatives can play a leading role on both levels of this debate: they have accumulated a great experience in the development of saving and credit models at the service of their local communities, and they have also been able to shape global financial actors, capable of generate an alternative perspective to the currently predominant view in world finances.
Specific objective: To analyse potentialities and feasible strategies for the contribution of co-operatives to the construction of a global, regional, national and local financial systems at the service of sustainable development.
Expected outcome: Proposals to be considered by the cooperative movement for the construction of a global, regional, national and local financial systems at the service of sustainable development.
One of the IV Co-operative Summit of the Americas thematic areas was defined as "Social and Solidarity Economy: strategies for its strengthening". The objective was sought clarification as what was meant by the concept of “SSE”, and reach an agreement on the position of the regional co-operative movement on this subject.
The Final Statement of the IV Summit recognized that the co-operatives are part of the SSE, and that this "must constitute a project of social change". The need to "deepen inter-cooperation, between co-operatives and the rest of the Social and Solidarity Economy actors" and "to promote spaces for integration and dialogue among all those organizations committed to the solidarity model of development" was pointed out.
Specific objective: To analyse strategies for the integration of co-operatives as part of the social and solidarity economy, and to favor dialogue with the different social actors, so that the regional co-operative movement can contribute to the construction of a sustainable development model.
Expected outcome: Proposals to be considered by the cooperative movement aimed to promote the integration of the different actors of the social and solidarity economy, and a dialogue with all social sectors in order to contribute to the construction of a model of sustainable development.
Analytical and food-for-thought papers to be used as inputs for the debate on each of the thematic areas and sub-areas during all stages of the Summit process.
Meetings organized by the Alliance members and other cooperative organizations from countries interested in making their own contributions to the discussion on each thematic area.
During the main event workshops will be held to discuss each of the areas in working roundtables. Their conclusions will be submitted to the Final Statement drafting committee.
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