In 1995, the ICA adopted the Statement on the Cooperative Identity which defines a cooperative and sets out the values of cooperatives and the seven cooperative principles. Published in 2015, the Guidance Notes to the Cooperative Principles provide detailed guidance and advice on the practical application of the cooperative principles. The 33rd World Cooperative Congress, with the theme Deepening Our Cooperative Identity, initiated a consultative process to explore cooperators’ understanding of the Statement and to examine how well it has stood the test of time.
Following on from Congress, the ICA Board set up the Cooperative Identity Advisory Group (CIAG) to continue the reflection and consultation on the cooperative identity. Chaired by ICA board member Alexandra Wilson, from Canada, the Group comprises 23 persons from all ICA regions and includes cooperative leaders, thinkers and practitioners.
A preliminary survey for cooperators worldwide
A preliminary survey will be launched soon and will gather first thoughts from cooperators all around the world on how well the cooperative identity is defined and understood. It will be available in the ICA’s three working languages (English, French and Spanish) and, with the support of ICA members, into other languages too. The survey will inform the work of the Advisory Group.
“Our cooperative identity is never more important than in times of crisis,” said Alexandra Wilson, Chair, ICA Cooperative Identity Advisory Group. “The participation of the global cooperative community in this consultation to deepen that identity is vital. To assist the work of the Advisory Group, cooperatives everywhere in the world, their members and employees, and all other persons familiar with cooperatives are invited to complete the survey.”
The Advisory Group will carefully consider both the findings of past enquiries into the cooperative principles and the views expressed and information shared during the post-congress consultation. It will seek to determine whether changes to the Statement on the Cooperative Identity are needed and what other steps can be taken to clarify and reinforce the essential purpose and nature of cooperatives and to strengthen their capacity to contribute to building a better world.
The Advisory Group will host regional seminars itself and will send participants to events exploring the cooperative identity organised by others at the local and regional level. As part of this, and at the invitation of Advisory Group member Erbin Crowell, who also sits on the board of DotCoop, Alexandra Wilson and Martin Lowery, ICA Board member and Chair of the Cooperative Identity Committee, participated in a session at the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) General Assembly. Watch the session here!
Are you interested in translating the survey into your language? For more information contact Santosh Kumar, ICA Director of Legislation, at email@example.com.
Visit the Congress website.