On 17 November the International Co-operative Alliance’s General Assembly elected an entire new board along with a new president, Ariel Guarco from Argentina.
Mr Guarco was elected with 671 votes out of a total of 691. He said it was a “tremendous honour” to become president of the Alliance, which represents a movement of one billion co-operators across the world. Read the interview with the Alliance President we have released in the December issue of eDigest which includes various questions related to the Alliance’s future.
Mr Guarco said following the election: “I was born and still live in a small rural town in the Argentinian Pampas where co-ops were able to respond to needs of our community.”
He is also president of Cooperar, the Co-operative Confederation of Argentina and has been a board member of the Alliance since 2013. His priorities at the Alliance will be to strengthen the interactions between its regional and sectoral organisations, as well as consolidating youth and gender spaces. Mr Guarco also wants to improve the quality and quantity of information given to members on income, balance sheets, and projects – and in doing so, empower organisations when it comes to decision-making. All his proposals are explained on his website.
“We need an Alliance that is as close as possible to its members. It needs to understand the movement’s needs, pay special attention to its regional and sectoral organisations, to youth and gender equality.
“The alliance needs to better represent the interests of members, broaden its visibility and impact, broaden and deepen its study of co-op organisations. The Alliance needs to better communicate within and outside itself,” he added.
He takes over from Monique F. Leroux, who has been leading the organisation since 2015. During her leadership, the Alliance sought to make the co-operative movement’s voice heard in international forums and at major economic gatherings. Co-ops were represented by the Alliance at various events including B20 meetings, the International Economic Forum of the Americas’ Conference in Montreal and high-level events at the United Nations, and the Business 20 (B20).
Ms Leroux said: “It was my great privilege to spend the past four years working with a devoted and committed board of directors that feels so strongly about advancing co-operative businesses. The Alliance is certainly in a decent position to continue moving towards objectives that, ultimately, will help make our world a better place.”
A full new board was also elected at the General Assembly, using for the first time, an electronic voting system. Click here for the full list of our board of directors. The results of the elections including the number of votes received can be consulted here.
The Assembly also approved the modification of the status that increases the number of sectoral representatives to four and the inclusion of the Gender Equality Committee chair in the Board. The above-mentioned Board has been framed with the ratifications of the vice-presidents of the regions and the youth representative.
During the General Assembly two motions on the co-operative development and platform co-operatives together with two call to actions were presented to Alliance members. A motion to create a co-operative development thematic committee within the Alliance and a motion to support platform co-operatives were approved.
A call to action encouraged members to adhere to the Hibakusha International Signature Campaign. So far the campaign has raised 5.15m signatures from 42 countries in support of a world without nuclear weapons. The call for action was presented by Mr Elich HONDA from the Japanese co-operative movement, one of the groups backing the campaign.
A second call for action came from Mr Byeong-Won Kim, who presented the ICAO Signature Campaign. He explained that Nonghyup, an agricultural bank in South Korea was campaigning to introduce the co-operative agricultural values in the Korean constitution.
Pictures from the event can be found on the Alliance’s Flickr account, courtesy of ANGKASA. You can also access the Facebook Live videos (https://www.facebook.com/internationalcooperativealliance/videos/1569896083072282/) and watch interviews with different co-operators.
Photo: New alliance board