The International Co-operative Alliance has officially launched the International Year of Co-operatives in Mexico.
Over 2,000 delegates from more than 300 organisations across 83 countries attended the launch at the ICA's General Assembly in Cancun on Wednesday, which is the largest ever gathering for the global organisation.
The ICA said the official launch of the year aims to promote a self-help and development model that is also a serious business proposition.
In launching the ICA's start of celebrations for the year, President Dame Pauline Green said: “Since the United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives, our global movement has been given a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to take a massive step forward, and lead the growth of the co-operative movement in all parts of the globe.
“To do this, we need to massively increase the knowledge and visibility of the size and sustainability of our business model, and of its reach into virtually every community across the world.
"Our General Assembly in Cancun affords us the opportunity to raise our global profile by using IYC 2012 to create common global messages and a common global presence, to influence key decision makers worldwide to support our movement that is producing solutions to the economic and sustainability problems of today’s world.”