The global co-operative movement is lining up behind the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives, says Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance.
In the run-up to the United Nations’ official launch of International Year in New York on October 31st, Dame Pauline has visited countries across the world including Argentina, Brazil, China, Canada, Japan and Malaysia.
Dame Pauline’s visits have been to support the major events taking place to promote the International Year, and discuss the plans of the national movements to celebrate, promote and develop the co-operative sector of the global economy.
Speaking after a recent visit to Finland and Korea, Dame Pauline said: “I have been hugely impressed by the way in which the movement is coalescing around the United Nations logo and slogan. For the last 18 months, the ICA has been urging the global movement to come together to raise the movement’s global visibility by using the UN’s logo and slogan.”
She added: “The movement has been given a wonderful gift by the UN. We must maximise our impact. This will be the first time in our history that the worldwide co-operative movement has worked together to identify itself by use of a common logo and slogan.
“The ICA’s aim is to raise public awareness of the scope, size and reach of our co-operative model of business into every corner of the world.
“This should give us greater influence with decision makers at national, regional and global level and help us to do what co-ops are best at – build more co-ops in support of people and families around the world.”
Dame Pauline also highlighted some individual initiatives that showed co-operatives were embracing the International Year. The Canadian co-operative housing sector has designed a flag using the International Year logo, which is flying on every housing co-op unit in Canada. In Singapore, the first of four children’s books on co-operation will be launched in December.
Added Dame Pauline: “Every country will celebrate the Year in its own way, but to see the entire global movement coming together under the same UN banner is inspiring, and shows that they understand the crucial message that the ICA has promoted — that only by working together can we show our current strength and global impact, and demonstrate that co-operative enterprises really do build a better world.’
In conclusion, Dame Pauline thanked the UK’s Co-operative Group for its support of the global campaign, and in particular its partnership with the ICA in the closing event of the International Year, which will bring together the ICA Expo and a Global Co-operative Congress, in an international market place of commerce and ideas, to be held in Manchester on 31st October to 3rd November 2012.