COMAYAGUA, February 9, 2024 – Cooperatives, government officials, and representatives of international organisations debated the future of the Economy during the largest regional meeting held recently in Comayagua, Honduras, and broadcast live via digital media.
Over the two days, the more than 900 participants from across the continent and other regions explored a range of economic, social, and environmental issues while hearing from regional authorities, including representatives from the government of Honduras and other states in the region.
“For cooperatives, the economy is based on principles and values, it must be for people and communities, aiming for community and territorial development,” said Graciela Fernández Quintas, president of Cooperatives of the Americas, during the opening of the conference.
The President of International Cooperative Alliance [ICA] Ariel Guarco also spoke during the opening session, highlighting the need to “permanently put the economy in the hands of the people and at the service of each community.”
Hosted by COACEHL, the Honduran Educators Savings and Credit Cooperative, the event featured a range of panel discussions, which enabled members of Cooperatives of the Americas and individual cooperators to debate a range of strategic issues. They looked at the role of cooperatives in the circular economy, decent work, youth empowerment, advocacy and public policies, housing and entrepreneurship.
The panels featured several members of ICA thematic committees, sectoral and regional organisations, including the President of the ICA Global Youth Committee, Ana Aguirre; the Chair of the ICA Research Committee, Cynthia Giagnocavo; the Chair of the ICA Gender Equality Committee, Xiomara Núñez de Céspedes; the President of the International Cooperative Banking Association [ICBA], Bhima Subrahmanyam; and Cooperative Housing International board member, Blase Lambert; the President of Consumer Cooperatives Worldwide, Petar Stefanov.
The President of CICOPA, Iñigo Albizuri Landazabal, and the President of Cooperatives Europe, Susanne Westhausen sent video messages.
Doug O’Brien, President and CEO of NCBA CLUSA presented the advancement of the promotion of the ICA Cooperative Identity Advisory Group, which has been strongly supported by NCBA during the last year .
Juan Antonio Pedreño – President of Social Economy Europe, Luis Miguel Jurado – President of COCETA Spain and José Ariza – Director of the Andalusian School of Social Economy with their respective interventions stressed the huge potential of the Social Economy for win-win transatlantic partnerships and alliances in the framework of the work-plan raising from the EU-CELAC Summit held in Brussels last July.
The closing panel was galvanised by the participation of two UN high-level Representatives: Paula Narváez Ojeda – President of the UN Economic and Social Committee and Mario Lubetkin – FAO Deputy Director General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, who endorsed the action developed by ICA Americas in favour of the SDGs, the Reduction of Inequalities and the promotion of Food Security across the Region
“We want a new paradigm and we need something unifying to get out of the stagnation and create that eco-system based on associative entrepreneurship that The Secretary General of the UN, with his report on social development, recognises that we still lack in our countries,” Ms. Fernández Quintas said in her closing statement.
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