Chairman of the Co-operative banking Group, Paul Flowers, explained at the Co-operative United Opening Ceremony that the Co-operative movement must “preserve this year with a legacy and be justifiably proud.”
He explained that during the IYC launch celebrations in New York last year they also launched the Global Co-operative Fund, where co-operatives make an investment to help give soft and low interest loans to people in the developing world.
Mr Flowers said: “we have made substancial and good progress in how that fund may develop.”
He added: “I have a dream for you, rather than just be an organtisation that talks to itself, then talks to the outside world, we should also have a true legacy that builds on, year after year.”
“It says we are an International Co-operative Alliance, we should act as an Alliance, we should act in a way that helps those who need us. The ICA this year has to mean much more, than us simply being nice to each other, it has to mean much more, than a number of us flying around the world and experiencing a warm glow.
Talking about the Movement, he said: “It needs to wake up to the massive and acute needs of the developing world, we have a duty and a responsibility to work with co-operators in the poorest parts of the world, we need to make sure their co-operatives are as vibrant and strong as ours are today.”
He added that himself and Pauline would be acting as bad cop and good cop, asking for donations from co-operatives at the conference. He added: “this is a very important opportunity and we cannot let us pass us by.”