On the lines of the World Economic Forum, some co-operative sector leaders and experts have formed the World Cooperative Economic Forum (WCEF), to be based in New Delhi, claiming to provide voice to over three million co-operatives spread over all countries. The WCEF will endeavour to promote cooperative thinking and cooperative movement, in addition to raising issues and concerns of the sector with governments and other stakeholders around the globe, a statement by the newly formed body said.

Dileep Bhai Sanghani, President of the National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI), announced this on Thursday at a co-operative sector event in Pune, as he is one of the founder members of WCEF. Other members of the WCEF include Binod Anand, a member of the Committee on Legal Guarantee of MSP; Rakesh Arrawatia, a professor at the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA); and Ashish Anand, founder of Whrrl, a company working in warehouse receipt finance.

“The WCEF journey is starting at the juncture of the ideation of an equitable economy, tempered by pragmatism. We are transitioning to a new engagement with the international cooperative economic order,” Shanghani, who is currently also chairman of the fertilizer co-operative IFFCO, said in a statement.

According to Binod Anand, WCEF will generate actionable insights with a view to helping the stakeholders not just navigate but also shape the future of the co-operative economy, as it employs 10 per cent of the total workforce in the world. He said there are around 300 large cooperatives globally that generate over $2.1 trillion in revenue.

“WCEF will bring together, for the first time, co-operators, social scientists, cooperative economists and policymakers, and myriad other stakeholders to brainstorm about the social and solidarity economy,” said Anand.

The founders also said that WCEF would transmit Indian cooperative learnings to shape global debates and policies by providing non-partisan, independent, well-researched analyses and inputs to sensitise decision-makers in governments, cooperative sector stakeholders, academia, and civil society around the world.