The figures are in for the closing events in Manchester last week and we can report that it was the largest global gathering of co-operatives in recent memory. Almost 12,000 visits were reported from 88 countries. ICA wants to thank our UK partners—Co-operatives UK and The Co-operative Group—for making this such a smashing success.
More than just the figures, the mood was festive, as promised by the official title for the week: Co-operatives United-World Festival and Expo. It’s been described as ‘part trade show, part conference, part jamboree’.
And even more than just the figures and the mood, the substance was profound. ICA’s global membership adopted a Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, to ensure that we don’t actually go out with a bang, but that we keep on building awareness and impact for the co-operative sector.
The United Nations will be convening a session later this month to receive reports on the International Year of Co-operatives and ICA will be reporting on the tremendous leverage the co-operative sector has put to the Year. To name a few:
- ICA’s membership enthusiastically embraced the IYC logo and slogan to raise public awareness of co-operatives as a serious, values-based, member-controlled model of enterprise
- ICA’s members used the Year to achieve legislative changes, such as in India and Russia
- We launched a Global Development Co-operative fund, as a legacy to stimulate co-operative growth
- We gained new insights in co-operative thought and practice at such global co-operative events as 1) Promoting the Understanding of Cooperatives for a Better World (Venice, March); 2) The World of Rural Co-operatives Conference (Dunsaney, Ireland, September); 3) Imagine 2012, an economics conference (Québec City, October); 4) International Summit of Cooperatives (Québec City, October)
And most important, we ensured that the momentum of the Year is captured for longer impact, through the Blueprint. Each of the outcomes and declarations from the global events ICA co-sponsored during the Year is being reflected in the final version of the Blueprint, which will be available shortly after the start of the New Year.
Thank you to the thousands of people who have contributed directly and indirectly to this watershed document. With this overarching direction set, we turn now to a plan of implementation.