We are about to enter the last month of the International Year of Co-operatives. While we will surely ride the momentum through the end of calendar year 2012, the International Year actually launched on 31 October 2011, at a plenary session of the United Nations in New York, and so officially closes, for co-operators, when we meet together in Manchester, UK on 31 October 2012.
Co-operators are doing something with ‘our Year’ that others haven’t done with theirs. We are attempting to leverage it from a Year into a Decade. October is the month when we determine whether we will be successful in that. The International Co-operative Alliance has been consulting this entire year with leading co-operative organisations in 100 countries to develop a Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade. At the end of September, the draft Blueprint will be released. On 31 October, ICA members will decide at a General Assembly in Manchester whether this is the right way forward.
Before meeting in Manchester however for what will be an exciting week of activities and events known as Co-operatives United, co-operators will be meeting in Quebec City, Canada for the International Summit of Co-operatives. The Summit runs from 8-11 October, but is preceded by an innovative economics conference, also in Quebec City, called Imagine 2012. I will be blogging from the Summit and so will not say much more about it now, other than that it bookends at the start of October with Co-operatives United at the end, to ensure that the International Year of Co-operatives builds to a crescendo.
If we are successful with this final month, we will simply be revving up before we shift to the next gear and turn the 2011 preparatory year and the 2012 implementation year into the promising start of the Co-operative Decade. The time horizon for that decade is 2020 when we believe, if we are successful in legitimately positioning the co-operative as the acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability, that it will become the model preferred by people, and consequently the fastest-growing form of enterprise in the world.