Youth Network discusses strategy to develop co-operation for a new generation

14 Nov 2017

The Youth Network has met at the General Assembly to adopt a co-operative youth manifesto and strategic plan.

The meeting saw the network elect a new representative to the ICA board. Sébastien Chaillou, from France, will take over the role from Gabriela Buffa after the General Assembly on 17 November. He was elected by 48 votes to one abstention.

Andrea Sangiorgi, from Italy, was elected to the Youth Network’s executive committee as member-at-large from European region.

The seat for Africa region received no nominees and has been left vacant.

Delegates heard updates from regional networks – the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa - on their work for the past two years. Representatives said efforts have been made to develop business opportunities, create networks, encourage co-operative education, share information and lobby governments.

The co-op manifesto for youth adopted at the meeting was developed from studies of statements made at youth events around the world over the past few years

It notes that “youth have long been, and increasingly are, disproportionately affected by unemployment, underemployment, disempowerment and disengagement”.

It adds: “Through effective involvement with co-operatives, youth can work together with governments, civil society and other stakeholders to overcome these challenges.”

The manifesto proposes ways to tackle barriers to promotion and representation for young co-operators.

To address these issues, the meeting in Kuala Lumpur saw delegates split into working groups to consider four initiative areas:

Co-ordination: How the network can work via regions, sectors and organisations such as the ILO and EU

Consultation: mapping the co-op youth movement and gathering statistics

Participation: using meetings, virtual meetings, networking to consult network members

Communication: using websites, emails, social media to develop the network’s strategy.

The session is one of several dealing with youth issues at the ICA General Assembly. On Monday, there was a day-long workshop on university/campus co-operatives, with the spotlight on how co-op bylaws can help student-led co-ops work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.