A meeting this week of leading co-operative businesses will look at overcoming the obstacles to even greater global co-operative business growth in the coming decades.
Speaking at the launch of the first International Summit of Cooperatives, in Quebec City, the President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), Dame Pauline Green said, “With Spain’s youth unemployment rate at 53% and 25 million young people unemployed across the Eurozone; and with 17,000 children dying every day from hunger related causes in the developing world, the co-operative movement wants to get behind the plans of Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank’s new chief, to end poverty by promoting private sector partnerships and ensuring the benefits are shared throughout a developing society.
“That’s just what we, as co-operative business do everyday,” said Dame Pauline. “Across the world, over the last four years, the co-operative movement has been serving people in the real economy. Throughout the financial crisis and recession, our co-operative banks and credit unions have continued to lend to individuals and businesses and more than one million individuals have moved their bank accounts from the commercial sector to co-operatives.”
“The momentum we have built up during the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) must continue. What this year has given the co-operative movement is cohesion and confidence.”
“A billion people are not starry-eyed idealists they are realists. They are members of co-operatives because it works for them and their families. These businesses coming together in such numbers to make our co-operative future are the voice of the billion,” said Dame Pauline.
A critical document called a Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade will be finalised at the Summit. It will be unveiled by the ICA at the concluding event of the IYC in Manchester, Co-operatives United, in three weeks time.