Australian co-operatives and mutuals to work with president of international peak body on raising the sector’s profile locally and globally

23 June 2022

Australia’s $34.4 billion co-operatives and mutuals sector has congratulated Argentina’s Arial Guarco on his re-election as President of the sector’s global peak body, the International Co-operative Alliance.

The chief executive of Australia’s Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), Melina Morrison, who was runner-up in the election, said she looked forward to working with Mr Guarco to elevate the role of co-ops and mutuals both in Australia and on the world stage.

“While I’m obviously disappointed to come second in the election, I am grateful for the opportunity and very proud of the positive campaign that I ran,” Ms Morrison said.

Ms Morrison was among the 400 co-operative leaders from 60 countries who gathered this week in Seville, Spain for the ICA’s 2022 General Assembly.

“As the outsider, it was always difficult for me to win over committed voters, but I am very pleased that the vision I put forward of a more business focused ICA has significant support among the membership.”

Ms Morrison oversees the peak body for co-ops and mutuals in Australia, which represents more than 2000 member-owned businesses and 60,000 small and medium enterprise co-op members nationwide.

“I want to thank everyone and every country that has supported my campaign,” she said.  “Running as the first Asia-Pacific candidate to stand for ICA President has been an honour.

“Running for the ICA presidency has brought me closer to the Asia-Pacific co-operative movement which is immense. There are many opportunities to work collaboratively on trade, development aid and education partnerships across the region including the Pacific nations. Co-ops are an ideal model for economic development and social impact.”

Mr Guarco’s re-election will see him serve another four-year term as president of the ICA, which represents 3 million co-operatives and mutuals around the world. Mr Guarco has been involved with co-operatives since his youth through his involvement in the Electric Cooperative of Coronel Pringles in the southern part of Argentina.

He has been the President of the ICA member Cooperative Confederation of the Argentine Republic (COOPERAR) since 2011, a member of the ICA Board since 2013, and was first elected ICA President in November 2017.

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