He said lobbying for the Year had been difficult as some countries do not like International Years regardless of their theme. But the year had now been agreed and a secretariat was already meeting and planning. The United Nations had sent a letter to all governments asking them to support the year and to set up national committees, and he called on Co-operatives UK to ensure the British Government met those commitments.
He said the International Year of Co-operatives will have three main objectives: visibility, influence and legacy, ensuring that the year has a lasting impact.
A campaign kit will be developed with marketing work being outsourced to co-operatives and a slogan needs to be finalised. Co-operatives are also being asked to consider seconding people to help to organise and run the year which will have its official launch in New York. Mr MacDonald said there was “much to do” but that the Year offered “huge opportunities”.
More immediately, Mr MacDonald also spoke of this year’s International Co-operatives Day which has “Co-operative Enterprise Empowers Women” as its theme and the Expo 2010 World Co-operative Exhibition being held in Bangalore later this year. Mr MacDonald urged UK co-operatives to support the event, saying it offered an example of “principle six — co-operatives co-operating with co-operatives — on a global level”.
Following his presentation, and in recognition of his ICA work and forthcoming retirement, Mr MacDonald was presented with a gift of gratitude from Co-operatives UK.