The pandemic has severely affected micro, small and medium enterprises around the world. Faced with an unprecedented crisis, cooperatives have emerged as one of the main support systems for our societies and economies. The challenges of Covid-19 have affected the International Cooperative Alliance like everyone else and we've been working hard to keep up morale and maintain operations across our regional and sectoral offices. We remain in solidarity with all those affected by this crisis, and everyone fighting against it.
To help the ICA Global Office collect knowledge and information on how COVID-19 is affecting national and international laws and regulations on cooperatives, the ICA is today launching an open call to persons with a background in law and legal studies interested in cooperatives. With advice from the ICA Cooperative Law Committee, we will initiate and moderate a group on www.Loomio.org, a discussion and decision making website owned by a worker cooperative in New Zealand.
With this call, the ICA is building upon the ongoing actions on cooperative law across the organisation, including legal counseling for members, the ICA CLC, framework law, as well as the legal frameworks analysis research under the ICA-EU Partnership, through which national experts have contributed to analysing cooperative law at the national level in ICA member countries.
Who can apply? If you are an in-house counsel in an ICA Member Organisation, a legal expert or a lawyer engaged with cooperatives, this is your opportunity to connect with others around the world and engage in one of the most important discussions of our times.
When? Apply before 31 March 2021
Join us! All you have to do is write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Cooperative Lawyers’ in the subject line, expressing your intention to be part of the discussion and we will respond with all the details.
Hagen Henrÿ, Chairperson ICA Cooperative Law Committee: "Like any cooperative service, legal information must meet the needs of the members. For this reason, channelled through the responsible persons in their member organizations, the articulation of these needs must reach the ICA."
Florence Raineix, ICA Board member, and Board Liaison to the ICA Cooperative Law Committee; Executive Director of the National Federation of Caisses d'Epargne (FNCE) said: "This network makes it possible to detect very early on the evolutions that appear and may become widespread. Our ability to pick up weak signals is essential to remain adapted to the expectations of our environments and our members."
Ann Apps, Member, ICA Cooperative Law Committee; Lecturer, New Castle Law School (Australia) said: "As a member of the global law committee, I would like to lend my support to this call! We are keen to hear from you about how the pandemic has impacted laws or regulations, both positive and negative, in your country and to learn from you about reforms that have been implemented or are likely to be needed. Cooperative lawyers are often siloed and this is an opportunity to build a new network of knowledge and practice and to learn from each other."
Ifigeniea Douvitsa, Member, ICA Cooperative Law Committe; Co-Founder of Ius Cooperativum; Hellenic Open University (Greece); Visiting Research Scholar, Ruralia Institute, Helsinki (Finland) said: “It is very important to create a network of legal experts who work with cooperatives because we can in this way discover how cooperatives are affected in their daily operation by legislation under different legal systems.
Alphonce Mbuya, Associate Prof. Moshi University (Tanzania) and Member of ICA Cooperative Law Committee: "The network of coop law experts wil be an important platform to share ideas and provide solutions to matters of common interest. It will also be a strategic forum for addressing emerging issues such as Covid-19, which affect cooperatives and their operational environments."
(RE) discover and get inspiration on how cooperatives contribute and what their challenges are, from messages and cases on webpages created by ICA regional offices and sectoral organisations by following these links:
BACKGROUND NOTE AVAILABLE HERE