Global co-operators unite in need to turn to face the world
Co-operators from around the world have united in their call to action to the global co-operative movement to embrace the UN International Year of Co-operatives 2012 as a turning point.
A co-ordinated and pervasive global awareness campaign needs to be launched, beginning with co-operatives learning how to tell their stories, delegates at the ICA’s Cancun conference and General Assembly were told during the five-day event.
“..celebration is not enough,” ICA President, Dame Pauline Green, told a crowd of delegates, which included Mexican president Felipe Calderón, on the closing day. “We believe that if we are to be faithful to the ambitions of our movements’ forefathers, we must ensure that we maximise the value of this once in a lifetime gift from the United Nations.”
Green said co-operatives were working together to drive up the visibility and profile of the co-operative business model with a global, general public.
Philippe Cousteau, international media identity and environmental activist painted a picture of a world on the brink of massive change.
“The world is setting itself up for failure,” he said. “..the status quo will change. It is up to us to change it on our terms.”
The ICA General Assembly and conference attracted a record number of delegates, 2003 in total, more than 50 per cent of which were from Mexico.
A total of 78 countries were represented and of the representatives, 1456 were male and 547 female.
After Mexico, the largest contingents were from Columbia, India, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Canada, Ukraine, Costa Rica and the United States.
Earlier the Mexican president Calderón had promised his government’s support in promoting the co-operative business model and embracing the UN International Year of Co-operatives.
During the conference it was also announced that another $US94,000 had been added to the Japan appeal.
There was a strong message from the conference sessions that youth needed to be embraced and attracted to the co-operative movement in building what ICA Director-General Charles Gould has coined “The Co-operative Decade” ahead.
Both keynote speakers at the conference, Cousteau and the former Obama campaigner Sam Graham-Felsen, told co-operators that they needed to get out and tell their stories.
“The very values of sustainability that you need to even be considered a co-operative, are the values that the world needs to embrace if we are going to have a sustainable future," said Cousteau.
He said these were the values that the co-operative movement stood for and what it had always stood for.
His words summed up the mood of the meeting: “The world just needs to hear about them.”