A decade made by co-operatives for co-operatives

05 Nov 2012


Co-operators around the world have made their contribution to ensuring co-operatives are the fastest growing form of enterprise by 2020.

The draft Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade was presented at the ICA’s General Assembly, where it was discussed and adopted by delegates — the final version is due in January, which will include inputs gathered from the ICA Leadership Forum of 100 representatives from around the co-operative world who met in Manchester last week.  The Blueprint was originally drafted in a consultative process with ICA’s members, regions, and sectoral organisations, the Planning Work Group has co-ordinated its effort on gathering feedback and ideas on a ‘2020 Challenge’.

Delegates who attended the following conferences this year, have also had their comments fed into the Draft Blueprint: ‘Promoting the Understanding 
of Co-operatives for a Better World (Venice) – March; ‘The World of Rural Co-operation’ (Trim, Ireland) – September; ‘Global Cooperative Finance Summit’ (Quebec City) - October; and ‘Imagine 2012’ and ‘International Summit of Cooperatives’ (Quebec City) – October.

The ‘2020 Challenge’ is for the co-operative form of business by 2020 to become:
 —  The acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability
 —  And therefore the model preferred by people
 —  And as a result of that, to become the fastest growing form 
of enterprise 

At the Opening Ceremony of Co-operatives United, Monique Leroux, Chief Executive of Desjardins presented the Declaration from the International Summit of Cooperatives held last month. The declaration says that for co-ops to reach their full potential in a fragile economy, they must maintain their competitiveness, enhance their performance, be innovative and remain relevant to emerging needs.

Ms Leroux told delegates during the Opening Ceremony that “co-ops are people-focused businesses” that contribute to a more stable economy. She added: “I fully support ICA’s vision to transform the International Year of Co-operatives into a Blueprint for the Co-op Decade. We need to keep the momentum. Rolling and inspiring and influencing others. Clearly this is our time this will be our decade and our century.”

During the ICA Leadership Forum held on the Tuesday before the General Assembly, declarations were presented by Jean-Louis Bancel, Chair of the International Co-operative Banking Association, and Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The Leadership Forum was made up of representatives from the ICA’s Board of Directors, sectoral organisations and thematic committees to discuss the draft Blueprint and to look forward to the year 2020 to hypothesise what the vision will look like in 2020; the steps to get there and creating a framework for a plan of action.

Mr Bancel presented the Resolution of the ICBA, which describes how financial co-operatives contribute to a better world by adopting the Blueprint and to communicate their examples of best practices with each other. He also said that in 2020 co-operatives should double their strength to two billion members by attracting interest from youth.

Peter Couchman presented the Dunsany Declaration from the rural/agricultural sector, which calls for co-operatives to support legislation, education, inspiration for the next generation, demonstration of impact, transfer of knowledge between co-operatives, develop community links, build understanding, finance the future and access to technology. Mr Couchman emphasised that “rural development matters with 2.3 billion people living in rural communities”.

During his keynote speech to the Opening Ceremony, José Graziano Da Silva, the Director General of the FAO, backed the Declaration: "The Dunsany Declaration for Rural Co-operative Development offers a forward looking perspective and gives an important contribution to the global plan of action that will guide our work in future years."

The Final Declaration from the Euricse academic conference in Venice was also made a part of the Blueprint. A group of researchers identified that co-operatives can contribute in a dynamic and innovative way to the development of the places in which they operate. It called for this to be recognised as a strategy for the renewal of the economic system and to ensure that public policies at the national and international level will become better at enabling and tapping the important contributions that co-operative enterprises can bring to social and economic development.

Click here to read the draft version of the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade.

Picture: Monique Leroux hands over the Summit Declaration to ICA President Dame Pauline Green.


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