We are pleased to launch the 2020 International Day of Cooperatives campaign. As you know, the theme this year is Cooperatives for Climate Action, and we designed this year’s campaign to engage and inspire members to take action against climate change. Many of you in the cooperative movement are already very active in this arena, and I applaud you. But as you are also aware, there is still much more to do.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to us that the cooperative movement has taken many steps to help communities adjust the way we now have to live, find innovative and cost-effective ways to provide care for the sick, and come together as cooperatives to offer solidarity and support. This pandemic has also proven to us that those who have less are the ones who suffer the most.
Climate change continues to affect the most vulnerable population on our planet, and we must continue to take action to change this. This year to highlight the importance of taking action against climate change, and to encourage others to also make a difference – no matter how small – we invite you to visit the ICA website to learn about our plans for this special day. Among the activities are:
ICA-AP is also organising three webinars in the run-up to the International Day of Cooperatives. The first will be on 14th June, 2020, with the theme: Harnessing renewables. Experts from the field and co-operators will come together to provide actionable steps for the adoption of renewable sources of energy. On 2nd July, we bring a panel discussion with the authors and editors of the newly launched book: Waking the Asia Pacific Co-operative Potential; and on 4th July, the International Day of Cooperatives, a special virtual event will be launched to celebrate cooperatives in climate action.
The cooperative movement can use this important opportunity to take a stand as a global actor of change and collaborate with its partners within the international community. This collective effort can significantly impact the climate agenda and achieve a fair, green and just transition for all communities, leaving no one behind.
We encourage you to promote #CoopsDay and #Coops4ClimateAction widely on all your social media channels. This event will focus on the contributions of cooperatives to combating climate change, one of the most severe challenges facing our planet during the 21st century. Stay tuned for updates on activities planned to mark the International Day of Cooperatives!
On July 4, 2020, cooperatives around the world will celebrate the 26th United Nations International Day of Cooperatives and the 98th International Cooperative Day (ICD) with the theme, Cooperatives for Climate Action: Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 on Climate Action. The global impact of COVID-19 have enhanced the importance of climate action. According to the WHO, “changes in infectious disease transmission patterns are a likely major consequence of climate change. Rising temperatures can create favourable conditions for the spread of certain infections, while disappearing habitats may force various animal species to migrate, increasing the chances of spill over pathogens between them.”
Climate change severely impacts people’s lives and livelihoods around the world. It will be more profound for small businesses and agricultural communities, and the brunt borne by the vulnerable, economically disadvantaged, minorities, and women. The Asia-Pacific has the largest number of vulnerable population and is the most disaster-prone region in the world. Cooperatives in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and consumer have a large membership base in the region, and the effects of climate change are felt directly in the form of crop loss, lower productivity, soil erosion, depletion of forest cover, and loss of cattle; resulting in increasing poverty and food insecurity.
The International Cooperative Alliance-Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) representing 109 members from 32 countries would like to use the ICD to reinforce the 7th Cooperative Principle (concern for the community), mobilise members to commit climate action and achieve a fair, green and just transition for all communities, leaving no one behind. ICA members in Asia-Pacific can facilitate climate action in multiple ways:
Promote the cooperative identity: The real economy of farmers and workers were essential to economies during the pandemic crisis. ICD is an ideal time to engage the public about the cooperative model, and spread awareness about its principles and values. JA-Zenchu in Japan and National Agriculture Cooperative Federation in Korea organise public tours to agriculture cooperatives to learn more about the lives of farmers, role of cooperatives, their contributions to sustainable development, and give young people hands-on-experience in growing vegetables and urban gardening.
Reduce carbon footprint: The restrictions on movement due to COVID19 have had a positive impact on our natural environment, with clear evidence of less noise, clean air and rivers, and drop in pollution. The ‘new normal’ post-COVID19 will see a continuation of some of the measures in place – reduced travel, work from home. Many members have started taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint. For instance, the Japanese Consumer Coop Union had pledged to reduce total CO2 emissions by 40% through energy conservation and the development of renewable energy; LAMAC Multipurpose Cooperative in the Philippines is recognised as a model for sustainable development by the Cooperative Development Authority and Climate Change Commission for their reforestation and recycling work; at the Drawa Block Forest Community Cooperative in Fiji landowners have given up rights to logging timber in exchange for the opportunity to sell rainforest carbon offsets as a way of generating revenue for local economic development.
Greener environment campaign: The ICA-AP Committee on Youth Cooperation will be launching the third edition of Go Green Campaign in July to fit with the theme of ICD. The “World Goes Green with Africa, America and Asia-Pacific,” will link youth and SDGs and create an identity for cooperatives as a sustainable model for environment and society. In India, the Indian Farm and Forestry Development Cooperative is acquiring barren lands and greening them, and several other cooperatives in India are planting thousands of trees in their areas of operations. SANASA Credit Cooperatives in Sri Lanka are promoting Sri Lanka NEXT Blue-Green “Lassana Lanka” (Beautiful Sri Lanka) program for development of 10,000 sustainable village. This year, in the spirit of the ICD theme: Climate Action, we urge all ICA members in the region to join the Go Green campaign by adopting tree plantation drive in their communities. More details on the campaign can be found here.
Implement the 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle. These are low-cost and easy changes to implement in our offices and homes. ICA-AP invites our members to join us in launching the following actions:
July 2: Panel discussion with the editors of the newly launched book: Waking the Asia Pacific Co-operative Potential
July 4: ICA-AP in collaboration with the National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI), will host a webinar to celebrate International Day of Cooperatives: Cooperatives For Climate Action
July 7: Webinar on the International Youth Cooperatives for Climate Action hosted by ICA Asia and Pacific Youth Cooperation
July 8:Cooperators to share their experiences and case studies on, “Sustaining Environmental Actions Post COVID-19”
We encourage you to promote #CoopsDay and #Coops4ClimateAction widely on all your social media channels. This event will focus on the contributions of cooperatives to combating climate change, one of the most severe challenges facing our planet during the 21st century.