QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 6, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The second International Summit of Cooperatives officially opens today in Quebec City. Over 3,000 participants from 93 countries will gather from October 6 to 9 to discuss the main challenges facing cooperatives. The Summit will attract internationally renowned speakers, including a Nobel Prize winner and numerous key figures from the political and economic spheres, around the common theme of "Cooperatives' Power of Innovation". This prestigious international gathering is a joint initiative of Desjardins Group and the International Co-operative Alliance.
The opening ceremony took place in the presence of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Canada's Minister of Infrastructure, Communities, and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec; Philippe Couillard, Premier of Quebec; and Jacques Daoust, Quebec's Minister of the Economy, Innovation, and Exports.
"Our government remains committed to cooperatives as an important contributor to the economic growth and prosperity of Canadians. We will continue to collaborate with the cooperative sector to ensure that conditions are in place to support the viability of the cooperative model in Canada," said Mr. Lebel.
"Quebec is especially proud to host the 2nd International Summit of Cooperatives. It is thanks in particular to the hard work of Quebec Cooperatives that we have been able to build a prosperous economy that generates jobs throughout Quebec," said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.
For four days delegates will explore topics such as developing cooperative and mutual enterprise; economics, financing, and capitalization; employment; food security; and health and social care services. They will have an opportunity to benefit from the expertise of numerous well-known speakers and panelists and learn more about the latest developments in the cooperative business model.
Topics that will be addressed at the Summit:
- Access to health and social care services: LPS Productions will present the first international portrait, since a 1997 UN report, on healthcare cooperatives, including social services cooperatives, insurance mutuals, and cooperative pharmacies. Between exploding healthcare costs, population aging in developed countries, and demographic growth in developing countries, the report also aims to highlight the most inspiring cases that improve access to healthcare services and give rise to innovation.
- Feeding 9 billion people in 2050: Land and food speculation, raw material price volatility, and food waste run rampant. All of these links in the agri-food chain will be examined. What alternatives can cooperatives offer to support long-term food supply with a view to sustainable prosperity?
- Global Census on Cooperatives by the United Nations: After much investigation, documentary research and on-the-ground studies on all types of cooperatives in 145 countries, the United Nations will release the much-awaited findings of its census. The UN believes that this research will allow practitioners and decision makers to gain a clearer understanding of the size, scope, and potential of cooperatives within local and regional economies.
The International Summit of Cooperatives will be a unique occasion to hear about the recent findings of more than 25 studies looking into a diverse array of challenges including food security, health and social care services, employment, and the best development strategies for cooperative enterprises. The studies were conducted by internationally renowned organizations McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, Deloitte, PwC, Oliver Wyman, the United Nations, Rabobank, and momagri.
According to Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President, and CEO of Desjardins Group, this second Summit illustrates the important role cooperative and mutual enterprises play in the economy of the 21st century. "According to the World Bank, one of the main issues society will face in the coming years is the employment crisis. Cooperatives can offer a concrete solution to this situation, as shown in a major study by the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers' Cooperatives (CICOPA) commissioned by Desjardins. Given this global challenge and those relating to food security and human services, the Summit is a must," she added.
Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance: "Since the first edition of the Summit, significant events have happened. The 2014 Summit is a proper time to look back on those, and to gather insights for the future. 2014 is a historic year because we witness the co-operative movement now breaking through the glass ceiling of international business representation, with the Alliance's first participation in the business council for the G20. As the Alliance's President, I am glad to see co-operative identity widely discussed at the Summit. Trade is always expanding and far- reaching, and the co-operative identity is the key instrument for co-operatives to differentiate themselves from investor business. The success of the co-operative marque demonstrates this. The Summit is an essential part of dynamic co-operatives' diaries and the Alliance is proud to be the Summit's co-host at the side of Desjardins Group."
Roughly a hundred exhibitors on site
The Summit also has a special place for the next generation with its Young Leaders Program, and for the first time it is presenting an international exhibition featuring approximately one hundred exhibitors from every cooperative sector, including finance, insurance, education, agriculture, food, housing, distribution, retail sales, and healthcare and health services. With 7,000 m2 of exhibition space, this will be a unique opportunity to see the best and most recent accomplishments and learn about the services offered by cooperatives and mutuals in every sector.
As with the first edition, the Summit will wrap up with the release of a closing declaration in which delegates will set out the main challenges of the cooperative business model and the priorities identified to meet those challenges worldwide.
About the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives
The second International Summit of Cooperatives will bring together cooperative managers and influencers from the international cooperative and mutual community in Quebec City, Canada, from October 6 to 9, 2014. The Summit's bold, ambitious themes will also garner the attention and interest of numerous world socioeconomic leaders and politicians. This prestigious international gathering is a joint initiative of Desjardins Group and the International Co-operative Alliance and is made possible thanks to funding from Quebec's Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et des Exportations and Canada Economic Development.
SOURCE: 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives
For further information: (for journalists only): Mathieu Lavallée, Media Relations, International Summit of Cooperatives, Summit Press Room: + 1-514-947-7628, + 1-418-649-5232, [email protected]; Jan Schiettecatte, International Co-operative Alliance, Summit Press Room: +1-418-953-0341, +1-418-649-5232, [email protected]