A collection of New Year wishes
For us at Développement international Desjardins (DID), co-operation is no better explained than with concrete results.
For more than 40 years, DID has been working with developing and emerging countries towards the goal of sharing the expertise and experience of Desjardins Group, the largest co-operative financial group in Canada. Over the years, we carried out some 400 different projects in nearly 60 countries, providing millions of families and entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities with access to secure, diversified financial services that fit their needs and helping them take charge of their development.
Our achievements are deeply rooted in complementary relationships with our partners and the communities they serve, confirming the importance of the co-operative values that guide us. DID and its partners will take an active role in promoting these values in the context of the International Year of Co-operatives. We will also be participating in the International Summit of Co-operatives that Desjardins Group is organizing, in collaboration with the International Co-operative Alliance and Saint Mary’s University, on October 8 to 11, 2012 in Quebec City.
We are extremely proud to be associated with these initiatives and hope that co-operatives from all continents will take advantage from them to overcome the challenges they face and maintain their tremendous contribution to economic and social development around the world.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Développement international Desjardins
ICA Housing had a successful 2011 supporting and representing ICA member housing co-operatives around the world. Our symposium in Istanbul assisted our Turkish member, TURKKENT, rebuild its relationship with the Turkish government. We also supported our Polish colleagues with their successful efforts to persuade the Polish government not to pass legislation that would have dismantled housing co-operatives Poland. The ICA General Assembly in Cancun approved our resolution calling on all ICA members positively to commit only to use FSC or PEFC certified timber and other forest products to prevent deforestation and combat climate change. The resolution links IYC 2012 with the past two UN International Years: 2011 International Year of Forests and 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.
Our work in 2012 will focus on communicating to our members and the general public the core message of IYC 2012. We look forward to working closely with all members of the ICA to show the power of co-operatives to build a better fairer world for all. For information about the work of ICA Housing please visit www.icahousing.coop.
CDS Co-operatives, and our 60+ member housing co-ops, provide over 4000 homes in London and the South of England. We are proud to have been a key supporter of housing co-operatives for over 36 years. Our work this year included supporting the Confederation of Co-operative Housing in introducing a new governance accreditation programme for housing co-operatives and supporting Jonathan Reynolds MP in presenting to Parliament his Co-operative Housing Tenure Bill which will have its second reading in January 2012.
We look forward to working with you and the whole UK co-operative movement to achieve its aims for IYC 2012. For more information about CDS see our website www.cds.coop.
David Rodgers, President of ICA Housing and Executive Director of CDS Co-operatives (UK)
It is the time of year when we reflect on what has been achieved at the Wales Co-operative Centre over the last twelve months and think about what the New Year holds.
Our 2011 highlights include extending our support project for co-operatives and social enterprises into North and East Wales; launching a new business succession and co-operative consortia project; gaining funding to support co-operative development in Africa; winning a new contract to deliver the Co-operative Enterprise Hub; and the delivery of the largest social enterprise conference in Wales. We have successfully lobbied for the creation of a Co-operative Commission for Wales and our wider work on financial and digital inclusion has also gathered momentum.
All of this is important because of the contribution these initiatives make to creating jobs, sharing wealth, tackling injustice, promoting inclusion and strengthening our communities. And due to tough economic times, what we do at the Centre will be even more important in the year ahead.
2012 promises to be a very exciting year. Not only will we be joining with the worldwide co-operative sector to celebrate the UN International Year of Co-operatives, we will also be celebrating our own 30th Anniversary. We launch both of these on 10 January with the publication of a new report on the co-operative economy in Wales, and a reception at the Senedd which will be addressed by Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, and Ed Mayo from Co-operatives UK.
We thank all our staff, funders and partners for their role in making the Centre a success in 2011. 2012 promises to provide just as many challenges and opportunities, which I look forward to taking on with other co-operators in Wales, the UK and around the world.
Happy New Year.
Derek Walker, Chief Executive Wales Co-operative Centre
What a year 2011 has been. Over the last twelve months, we have seen the UK beginning to co-operate again and the co-operative form once again coming to the fore.
In the UK today, a thriving co-operative economy exists. Our state of the sector report, The UK Co-operative Economy 2011, shows that there are 5,450 independent co-operative businesses owned by around 12.8 million people, with the co-operative economy outperforming the UK economy, growing by 21% since the start of the credit crunch in 2008.
Demonstrating just how commercial success can sit hand in hand with values and principles, last year the combined turnover of all UK co-operatives grew by 4.4% to £33bn, despite the wider economic downturn.
Membership of co-operatives has also seen a dramatic increase, rising 18% since 2008 to 12.8million people, meaning that one in five people in the UK are now a member of a co-operative.
Together, the UK co-operative sector had a big impact through our second ever Co-operatives Fortnight, which saw a remarkable four million people engaged - not to mention record media coverage for the co-operative sector.
Looking forward, the UK co-operative sector as a whole is counting down to 2012, the International Year of Co-operatives.
Our plans are in place for marking the start of the International Year on 12 January, when we will join with other co-operatives across the world in celebrating the start of a momentous year for us all.
We are working with co-operatives across the UK – big and small – to help equip all with the tools to make the most of the International Year and really promote their co-operative and the co-operative way of doing business.
We will be coming together again with our international colleagues again for International Co-operatives Day on 7 July too, when we will all be able to hold shared events and activities to demonstrate how the global the co-operative movement is.
And, of course, we are working closely with International Co-operative Alliance and The Co-operative Group on Co-operatives United, the world festival and expo taking place to end the International Year from 29 October – a week not to be missed.
We will join together for International Co-operatives Day on 7 July and we will be there at the grand finale, in Manchester, from 29 October, to really celebrate the World Co-operative Festival.
We’ve a lot to look forward to and I would like to wish all co-operators the very best of success for 2012, the International Year of Co-operatives.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK
The International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) is a long established and unique global trade association representing cooperative and mutual insurers from around the world. ICMIF aims to promote and work with the sector globally by being a leader in providing information and services to members, and representing the interests of, the global co-operative and mutual insurance sector.
Working together with the members in this way underpins the Federation’s commitment to providing “a global reach for local strength”. To promote the unique identity of mutual/co-operative insurers, ICMIF works closely with many other professional organisations around the world. One of the organisations is the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), under whose auspices ICMIF was founded in 1922, and who we will be working with closely during the International Year of Co-operatives in 2012. As Dame Pauline Green said during the recent ICMIF Biennial Conference, Manchester, UK, the UN International Year of Co-operatives is a “once in a lifetime gift from the UN”. Everyone at ICMIF is looking forward to the challenges and rewards that the many events and initiatives will bring to this special year for co-operatives and to raise the global visibility of the co-operative model of business.
Looking back over 2011 the highlight of the year for ICMIF was without doubt the Biennial Conference. This tremendous event brought together specialist speakers and panellists and over 250 delegates from 90 member organisations around the world. The conference slogan was “It’s Our Time” and the conference itself and all those who took part were proof of this.
The speakers brought to life how the leading organizations of the future are those whose brand appeals to the general public; brands that can capture people’s emotions as we move into an age of reference, where emotions, service and advocacy matter more than price and where values-based strategies will dominate.
Speakers talked about brands with conviction; ones that ‘do good by doing right’; with values-based strategies that improve the quality of peoples lives.This can only be achieved by creating the right culture; a culture of delivery, of service, of member engagement, of excellence, putting people before profits and becoming a social enterprise of distinction.
As one conference speaker put it we are at ‘the new golden age of mutuality’ and all our delegates gathered together in Manchester certainly went away from the conference feeling motivated and inspired to ensure that it really is ‘Our Time’.
We hope that 2012 will continue to be “Our Time” and in particular a time to celebrate co-operative values and co-operation amongst members of ICMIF, the ICA and other organisations who will be celebrating the International Year of Co-operatives. Everyone at ICMIF would like to extend our very best wishes to all co-operative and mutual organisations for the year ahead and wish everyone a happy and healthy new year.
Shaun Tarbuck, CEO, ICMIF
With the ongoing economic crisis and the prospect of falling living standards and reduced public services for years to come it would be easy for co-operators to feel pessimistic, but the market failures that caused that crisis and the growing inequalities in our society highlight the need for and the availability of co-operative alternatives.
The last decade has demonstrated the desire for forms of enterprise that are accountable to key stakeholders and put stakeholders' needs at the heart of the business, rather than short term shareholder value. That is why we have seen the growth of community shops, community pubs, leisure trusts, football supporters trusts and a co-operative alternative to the creeping privatisation of the education system.
The United Nations International Year of Co-operatives 2012, provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to mainstream co-operation .
"Liberalisation reforms" are now being applied to all parts of the education system in England. That is why the College's Strategic Plan focuses on mainstreaming a co-operative alternative. By early 2012 200 schools will have completed the process of conversion to co-operative trusts or co-operative academies, and our aim is to double this in just over a year.
With the 'liberalisation' in Further and Higher Education it is likely that the first College to convert to a PLC will happen in the next year, along with the first Co-operative Further Education College.
The stagnant economy is impacting hard on young people. Can we build on the Young Co-operative models in schools and support for youth co-operatives in Africa to develop similar models in the UK to help tackle youth unemployment?
Whilst there may not be co-operative solutions for every walk of life, the economic challenges bring real opportunities for building a stronger, more diverse co-operative sector.
Mervyn Wilson, Principal, Co-operative College
The past year has been a remarkable one for the Canadian co-operative movement. It has been a time when growing public demand for economic alternatives has generated increased interest in co-operatives; a time when the Canadian movement has been making an effort to get its own house in order by fostering greater co-operation between English- and French-speaking co-operatives.
And of course, it has been a time of planning, organizing and getting ready for the International Year of Co-operatives. Canadian co-operators have been actively preparing for this exciting opportunity since it was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 2009.
Last June, Canada launched www.canada2012.coop, the world’s first national IYC 2012 website. It was created as a three-way partnership between CCA, its French-language counterpart, the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité (CCCM) and the Canadian government’s Rural and Co-operatives Secretariat. CCA representatives participated in both the United Nations launch in New York in October and the International Co-operative Alliance launch in Cancun in November, and on January 12, the International Year will be launched at events in 12 communities across Canada, in addition to a national launch in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
But the International Year is about more than events and celebrations: when the year is over, we want it to have a legacy that will live far beyond 2012. We have been actively lobbying the Canadian government for initiatives related to co-operative development, including the creation of a national co-operative loan fund that would be jointly financed by the government and the co-op sector. We know that access to capital is a major challenge for co-operatives, and such a fund would make an enormous difference for co-operatives seeking to modernize or expand.
We are also hopeful that the International Year will have another lasting benefit: a more cohesive Canadian co-operative movement. Because the co-operative movement is multi-sectoral, there has been a tendency for some co-ops to identify more with their line of business than with the movement as a whole. Already, we are seeing that the International Year is a force for change: consumer co-ops, agricultural co-ops, housing co-ops, worker co-ops and credit unions are coming together in communities across the country to plan activities for the International Year, and in doing so are discovering that the co-operative values they have in common are a lot more important than the things that set them apart.
As we work to build better communities, a better Canada and a better world, we are also striving to build a better co-operative movement. It’s going to be a wonderful year!
Claude Gauthier, President, Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA)
Zimbabwe sees the co-operative movement and the organized and formalized small and medium sector as pivotal to inclusive economic growth and as tools for poverty reductions.
To-date, Zimbabwe has about 5000 vibrant co-operatives in the seven economic sectors. These are manufacturing, housing, agriculture, fishing, savings and credit and mining and services.
They are organized from the primary co-operatives to the federation as shown in the attached diagram.
It is pleasing to note that the co-operative movement is not only growing but also making significant contributions to people’s livelihoods. This year alone, 187 co-operatives were registered. They came from all the sectors. The biggest sector is housing. There are currently 3700 housing co-operatives and they are leading providers of housing for the low income families. Besides, cooperatives and SMEs in Zimbabwe have achieved a lot. They provide 70% of the Gross Domestic Product and create 85% of jobs (RBZ October 2011). They are the major providers of family incomes as well as social and economic safety nets. Because of the way they are organized and run, co-operatives have provided a strong social and solidarity economic model in which both the tangible (capital, profits) and the intangible (support, participation, value of caring and sharing) carry equal weight in their businesses.
During the most difficult economic years between 2006 – 2009, co-operatives and SMEs provided a major economic and social life line. To support their sustainability and growth, the Ministry has facilitated training, exchange programmes with other countries and exposure to markets. In 2011, the Ministry trained several co-operatives in conflict management and resolution, good governance and how to run successful cooperatives. As Minister, I have also led delegations to Namibia, Kenya and Iran on exchange visits. A Kenyan delegation led by Assistant Minister L. J. Kilimo came to run seminars for 500 Zimbabwe co-operators from 12 – 16th December 2011.
They covered such areas as:
1. How to run successful and efficient co-operatives.
2. How to organize savings to start a Co-operative Bank and
3. The formation and running of a co-operative insurance company.
The seminars moved our co-operators a step forward.
To expose them to markets, co-operatives are facilitated to go to national, regional and international exhibitions and fairs. This year, of those that exhibited at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, the co-operatives in textile manufacturing got a second prize. This was most encouraging.
There are great expectations and excitement for the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives. We want to celebrate our achievements by establishing a co-operative college and a co-operative finance institution to facilitate co-operatives and SMEs training and financing. We shall also go on a countrywide campaign and publicity on the work of co-operatives.
Provincial expos and workshops will be held countrywide.
Minister Sithembiso Nyoni
It is always a pleasure to wish Co-operative News readers a Happy New
Year, but is even more special to do so when we know that that year will
be ours. The 2012 UN Year of Co-operatives gives us an opportunity the
like of which we have never had before. We at the Plunkett Foundation
would urge all readers to use the year to make the case not just in
terms of how large our movement is, but also in terms of the difference
we make in the world.
At Plunkett we are proud that it was our founder, Sir Horace Plunkett,
who moved the motion at the inaugural meeting of the International
Co-operative Alliance in 1895 that the international movement should be
made up of all forms of co-operatives together. The world is a better
place for it. During the year, we will be promoting the role that rural
co-operation plays around the world. From agriculture to energy
generation to microfinance to rural services and many more, it changes
the lives of millions. We all need to use the year to make sure that
both the outside world and our own movement recognises the diversity of
co-operation around the world today. What a great way to spend a year.
Peter Couchman, Plunkett Foundation
With today’s technology and communications, the idea of the "global village" has become a reality. But the more integrated and connected we are, the more interdependent we are as well. Economic, financial, security and climate risks are now shared by everyone.
Even though we are surrounded by change, there is one constant: people. Our world is evolving, changing and adapting because of us and what we do. That's why, now more than ever, we need to put people first – and that’s what co-operatives are all about!
I sincerely hope that the International Summit of Cooperatives, which Desjardins Group will be co-hosting in the fall of 2012, will promote the recognition and advancement of the co-operative movement worldwide.
I wish you a successful and prosperous New Year and may the amazing power of co-operatives help us build a better world together!
Monique F. Leroux
Chief executive Desjardins
El cooperativismo tiene ya más de 100 años de presencia en la Argentina, cobija a casi 10 millones de asociados (esto es 1 de cada 4 argentinos), brinda servicios esenciales como electricidad, agua, cloacas, gas, telefonía, internet, radio, televisión, etc., a más de 1.6 millones de familias en todo el territorio nacional, pero también servicios de salud, de vivienda, de consumo, de seguridad, de turismo, de crédito, etc., colabora asimismo en la prestación de servicios sociales como salas de primeros auxilios, ambulancias, bancos ortopédicos, salas funerarias, cementerios y cementerios parques, fomenta el desarrollo de la cultura y la educación, en fin participa activamente en el desarrollo de las comunidades donde cada cooperativa está inserta.
La Confederación Cooperativa de la República Argentina (COOPERAR), es una entidad cooperativa de tercer grado que nuclea a 36 Federaciones, las que a su vez representan a más de 3000 cooperativas urbanas de todo el país. Nuestra Misión es "Representar a las empresas del movimiento cooperativo argentino y procurar su defensa y fortalecimiento, para contribuir al desarrollo económico con equidad social".
Convencidos de que necesitamos hacer más visible a nuestro sector, teniendo como marco al año 2.012 “Año Internacional de las Cooperativas” y con el objeto de hacer un análisis interno que nos permita conocernos más, establecer nuevas metas y plantear nuevos desafíos, desarrollaremos junto a la Confederación hermana CONINAGRO (que representa a las cooperativas agrícolas), el Congreso Argentino de las Cooperativas 2.012.
Igualmente estamos impulsando una Red Federal de Viviendas, donde las organizaciones cooperativas de vivienda, de servicios públicos y de trabajo participen de la construcción de viviendas cooperativas. Asimismo estamos acompañando firmemente el proyecto de la Usina de Medios, impulsado desde el INAES (Instituto Nacional de Asociativismo y Economía Social), hoy con treinta proyectos de canales digitales abiertos de cooperativas y mutuales. Del mismo modo estamos promoviendo a través de las organizaciones de crédito cooperativo, una nueva Ley de Entidades Financieras.
Finalizaremos el año 2.012 con festejos ya que el 5 de diciembre de 2.012 COOPERAR cumplirá sus primeros 50 años de vida.
Dr. Ariel E. Guarco, Presidente, COOPERAR
The above messages appear courtesy of the Global News Hub. View its interactive New Year message map here: http://www.thenews.coop/topic-hub/welcome-2012-international-year-cooperatives. If you want to contribute to the Hub during the International Year contact Anthony@thenews.coop