The International Day of Cooperatives (IDC) 2021 (#CoopsDay) was celebrated on 3 July 2021 with the theme “Rebuild better together.” IDC is a day to celebrate the achievements of cooperatives and to show how a human- centred business model, sustained by values of self-help and solidarity and ethical values of social responsibility and concern for community, can reduce inequality, create shared prosperity, and respond to the immediate impacts of COVID-19.

ICA-AP launched the 2021 CoopsDay Webpage to promote the spirit of togetherness and cooperation and encourage members to engage in actions to rebuild better together for a people-centered and environmentally just recovery. The page featured ICA-AP’s position on ‘Rebuild Better Together in Asia- Pacific’ and messages from the members.

Cooperatives in the Asia-Pacific region have stood together and exemplified resilience, solidarity, and cooperation in the testing times of the COVID-19 outbreak. Former ICA-AP President, Mr. Li Chunsheng congratulating cooperatives on the occasion said, “with the relevance of cooperatives greater than any time, we shall pool our collective wisdom and efforts to face the new circumstances, and

together we can rebuild better!” Rebuild Better Together according to Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer, Regional Director, ICA-AP meant, “We can rebuild battered economies; make it better for the community and environment; and while individually vulnerable, can do more together.”

To mark CoopsDay, ICA-AP covered the perspectives of members in the monthly newsletter. We spoke to Ms. Roz Henry, Chief Executive Officer, Cooperative Business New Zealand (CBNZ), to discuss how New Zealand cooperatives fought the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are building back. We discussed with Fairtrade International and Aflatoun International about their contribution and strategies to a just recovery.

ICA-AP organised an online Roundtable Discussion on the International Cooperative Development and COVID-19: Rebuild Better Together in Asia and Pacific region. It brought together stakeholders to facilitate discussion between cooperative organizations and development actors and share experiences in international cooperative development. The panel of speakers included Mr. Li Chunsheng, Mr. Amano Haruyoshi, Former Head of International Relations at JCCU, Japan, Mr. Korbinian März, Project Coordinator at DGRV and IRU (International Raiffeisen Union), and Mr. Tarun Bhargava, General Manager (Cooperative Relations) at IFFCO, India and Chairperson of the International Cooperative Entrepreneurship Think Tank (ICETT). They shared their experiences in international cooperative development, addressing current issues and encouraged collaboration amongst stakeholders to promote common interests and priorities. The roundtable laid the foundation for a potential joint front to promote cooperatives in the Asia-Pacific region with international actors, including foundations, aid agencies, regional bodies etc. Invoking the 6th cooperative principle of Cooperation among Cooperatives, ICA-AP encouraged members to forge a joint front with other coops to serve their members effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement.

A glimpse from the online roundtable discussion organised for CoopsDay 2021