ILO COOP/SSE 100 Symposium - Opening remarks

The ILO held a two-day symposium on the occasion of the centennial of its Cooperatives Unit.

In the opening session of the symposium, ILO Director General Guy Ryder and ICA President Ariel Guarco provided video messages that mark the occasion.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director General 
In his remarks the ILO Director General noted that “We are living through unusual and troubled times. It is in such times that values of cooperation, mutualism and solidarity experience a surge in popularity and are more needed than ever.”

He mentioned that cooperative and wider social and solidarity economy movements are innovating and coming up with new ways of addressing these new challenges. He added that the ILO’s work on this portfolio also continues to adapt to the changing times and circumstances. He underlined the ILO’s commitment to further invest in advancing and promoting cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy in the service of decent work and social justice for many more decades to come.

Ariel Guarco, ICA President
In his opening remarks, ICA President Ariel Guarco noted that his organization deeply values celebrating this 100 year milestone of the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit. Referring to the first Director of the ILO, he mentioned Albert Thomas understood that cooperatives were vital to improving the living conditions of workers. Hundred years later, strengthening the ties between the ICA and the ILO is more important than ever in light of the challenges facing the world today.

He noted that cooperative identity is enshrined in ILO’s Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No. 193). The Memorandum of Understanding signed last year during ILO’s Centenary, demonstrates the commitment of the two organizations to walk together toward a future of work that incorporates cooperative values and principles leaving no one behind. He noted that this symposium is a very good opportunity to strengthen the cooperative paradigm globally.