The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) reaffirmed their century-long friendship by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week, according a ICA press release.
The document states that its main purpose shall be to “foster collaboration in areas of promotion and strengthening of the cooperative enterprise model”. In that respect, both commit to promote cooperatives as a “sustainable business model to advance inclusive and sustainable development”.
ICA’s President Ariel Guarco and ILO’s Director-General (DG) Guy Ryder signed the new MoU as a sign of renewed friendship. As both recalled, the first ILO’s DG Albert Thomas came from the cooperative movement and was part of ICA’s Board in the 1920’s.
The relationship between the two organizations started from the founding of the ILO and has continued uninterrupted to this day.
The memorandum was signed during a joint conference on ‘Cooperatives and the Future of Work’, following the 108th International Labour Conference (ILC) as the ILO is commemorating its centenary.
Both moments are historic for the development of cooperatives as the ILO also adopted on 21 June the ‘ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work 2019’, in which the role of cooperatives and the social and solidary economy in the future of work, in particular towards decent and sustainable work, was recognised.
For Ariel Guarco, “this mention in the Declaration [about cooperatives] is very significant for us, since it will allow us to carry out more advocacy work and public policy proposals favourable for cooperatives and will further strengthen the partnership that we are renewing today with the signing of a new agreement of collaboration between our two organizations”.
Guy Ryder underlined that “at the ILO we are committed to working with our constituents and the cooperative movement in supporting the creation of such an ecosystem that is conducive to the growth of cooperative enterprises.”
During the ICA-ILO conference, representatives from the permanent representation of Iran, Korea and Uruguay took the floor underlining the role of cooperative for building a sustainable future of work sharing concrete cooperative examples.
The book ‘Cooperatives and the World of Work’ (Routledge, 2019) was launched as part of the ICA-ILO Joint Conference. The publication is co-edited by authors from the ICA, the ILO and the International Organisation of Industrial and Services Cooperatives (CICOPA).