By: Ebrahim Fallahi

13th ICA Regional Summit official opening ceremony held in Tehran

November 29, 2018 - 1:55

TEHRAN–The official opening ceremony of the 13th ICA-Asia and Pacific Regional Cooperative Conference was held at IRIB Conference Center on Wednesday.

Senior officials from Iran and ICA including Parliament speaker Ali Larijani; Finance Minister Farhad Dejpasand; Cooperative, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, Head of Iran Chamber of Cooperative Bahman Abdollahi as well as ICA Chairperson of the Regional Board Chunsheng Li along with over 170 foreign guests and 400 Iranian participants attended the ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony, Abdollahi stressed the importance of ICA Asia and Pacific cooperative conference, saying “The Asia-Pacific Cooperative Assembly is the strongest party of the ICA World Assembly in terms of population, organizational membership and financial performance, and has played a significant role in promoting cooperatives in comparison with the three African, European and American regions.”

“Iran as a country with vast potential for investment and cooperative business in diverse areas such as tourism, industry, energy and agriculture can be a model for many Asian countries.” he added.

Abdollahi further mentioned the goals of the international conference saying, “The goal of this meeting is to promote cooperation among the ICA members and to address issues like job creation, supporting poverty alleviation, and promotion of the status of cooperatives.”

Chunsheng Li for his part appreciated Iran’s role in International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) especially in the region.

ICA chairperson of the regional board mentioned the importance of the role of cooperatives in the developing countries’ economies, noting that cooperatives can help such economies become more resilient and sustainable.

Li further noted that cooperatives are currently contributing to $2.1 billion of the world’s economy.

“Cooperatives are the voices of communities and a voice by which we can create a stronger network in the region and around the world to neutralize many crises”, he added.

Elsewhere in the ceremony, Parliament speaker Ali Larijani also addressed the attendees saying, “We have placed a significant importance on the role of cooperatives in the country’s economy in the sixth five-year development plan.”

“A great deal of work is needed for the cooperatives to get to their appropriate position in the country’s economy and the Parliament will also do its best to support the realization of this goal.” he said.

The official further stressed the need for educating the cooperative members in order to facilitate their growth.

He also mentioned some of the new areas like IT and ICT as potent fields for the country’s cooperatives to enter.

During the event, Cooperative, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari also voiced the government’s readiness for assisting cooperatives in various areas including accessing global markets, networking and branding.

The official mentioned the history and improvement of cooperatives in Iran, saying “In 1357 (1978), only 4.8 percent of the people in Iran were members of cooperatives, and now the number has exceeded 52 percent.”

According to the official, during the last 40 years, the number of cooperatives has increased by 11.8 percent on average annually, and now the figure has reached 90,000 nationwide.

Shariatmadari also pointed to the importance of employment in the cooperative sector and said: "There are now 1,700,000 people working in the country’s cooperatives; this number can further grow with the development of cooperative culture and given the youthful population of the country.”

Attendees from over 30 countries are participating in Iran’s International Cooperatives Conference which is being held at IRIB Conference Center from November 26 to 30.


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