Background on the International Forum on Cooperative Law

After the first International Forum on Cooperative Law, held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2016, the second such event in Athens, Greece, in 2018, and the third forum, in Seoul, South Korea, in 2021, on cooperative identity and harmonization of Cooperative Law, the fourth International Forum of Cooperative Law will take place in San Sebastian, Basque Country, in 2023, on the principle of cooperation among cooperatives.
The Ius Cooperativum is an international association of cooperative lawyers, which publishes the International Journal of Cooperative Law. The international forums have been organized by Ius Cooperativum since 2016, meeting every two years. The forums bring together lawyers who are interested in cooperative law on a worldwide basis, and cooperative law in different countries and continents.

The 4th International Forum of Cooperative Law is organized with the support of GEZKI (Gizarte Ekonomia eta Zuzenbide Kooperatiboaren Institutua / Institute of Social Economy and Cooperative Law), the Faculty of Law of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). The theme of this Forum is: “The principle of cooperation among cooperatives: a principle of the past or for the future?”

“The principle of cooperation among cooperatives: a principle of the past or for the future?”

Cooperation among cooperatives has been a key feature since the very beginning of cooperative history. On the one hand, the first step of the development of the consumer cooperatives was the establishment of wholesale firms, as an expression of economic cooperation. On the other hand, in 1895, the ICA was established as a tool for international political cooperation. These are the two pillars on which the cooperative movement was built in the 20th Century. This arangement could find proximities with some political thinking, such as federalism, communalism, or autogestion. The sixth principle of the Declaration on the cooperative identity, adopted by the ICA, in 1995, reads: “Cooperatives serve most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.”

But the context has changed: globalisation, financialisation, virtualisation, and the emergence of environmental problems…The cooperation among cooperatives has adopted new forms, has been challenged by new practices, and shall go on creating new solutions. It is important not only to deepen the various existing forms of that cooperation, but also to elaborate on its future.

Cooperative Law is concerned by these two directions. On the one hand, cooperative law can facilitate or put some constraints on the establishment of cooperation, either generally or to some specific cooperation. This may explain, at least partly, the successes and fails of inter-cooperation. On the other hand, cooperative law is also evidence of the deeper essence of cooperatives and, in that sense, it may reveal some specificities compared to companies. This may help to better understand what is the essence of a cooperative. This is particularly useful when the cooperative model may be used to elaborate a social and solidarity economy law, and, more generally, an alternative model for business. To investigate the way cooperative law treats inter-cooperation, and can do so in the future, it is proposed to the forum speakers to focus on one of these sub-topics:

● Different formulas for economic or political cooperation among cooperatives;
● The adaptation of regulation to secondary cooperatives ;
● The transactions between a secondary cooperative and cooperative members ;
● The impediments to cooperatives to provide financial services ;
● The cooperation among cooperatives of a different nature ;
● The competition law opposed to cooperation ;
● The creation of subsidiaries as an alternative to cooperation;
● The interrelation of cooperation among cooperatives, and cooperative principles; ● The management of conflicts within structures of cooperation, especially in cooperative groups (conflicts of interests).

Proposals for communications on other aspects of Cooperative Law will also be considered.

Details for submissions
Participants interested in presenting a paper are kindly invited to send an abstract of a maximum of 300 words, in English, before the 31st of March 2023 to [email protected]

Scientific committee
Douvitsa, Ifigeneia (Greece); Hiez, David (Luxembourg); Cracogna, Dante (Argentina); Fajardo, Gemma (Spain); Kurimoto, Akira (Japan); Meira, Deolinda (Portugal); Henrÿ, Hagen (Finland); Prasad, Bhagwati (India), Tadjudje, Willy (Africa); Van der Sangen, Ger (Netherlands); Otxoa-Errarte Goikoetxea, Rosa (Spain). Organizing committee Villafáñez Pérez, Itziar (GEZKI, Ius Cooperativum); Bengoetxea Alkorta, Aitor (GEZKI, Ius Cooperativum); Hiez, David (Université du Luxembourg, Ius Cooperativum); Emparanza Sobejano, Alberto (Faculty of Law UPV/EHU); Etxebarria Rubio, Ane (GEZKI); Ruiz Martínez, Aingeru (GEZKI); Kumar, Santosh (ICA Cooperative Law Commitee); Agirre, Ana (ICA youth network).

Notification of acceptance of the abstract
Participants will be notified by the beginning of May 2023 about the acceptance or rejection of their abstract. There is no travel or allowance provided to the selected presenters.

Date and place of the Forum
The 4th International Forum on Cooperative Law will take place on 29th November to 1st December 2023, in San Sebastian, Basque Country.

Conference language
English, Spanish and Basque