Co-ops need to create networks, said co-op leaders

Co-operatives need to create networks with organisations around the world, said co-op leaders at the IYC Closing Ceremony in New York.

Co-operatives need to create networks with organisations around the world, said co-op leaders at the IYC Closing Ceremony in New York. 

Four leaders, including ICA President, Dame Pauline Green, Rabobank Executive Director, Vincent Lokin, Desjardins CEO, Monique Leroux, and Acting Director of FAO, Marcella Villarreal, discussed how to move forward at a press conference on 20 November.

“Unlike many other development programmes, these co-operative associations survive once development aid wanes. That’s a critical nature of the sustainability of our business model;” said Dame Pauline Green.

Vincent Lokin added: “We are just one organisation in a large world, there are many other organisations aiming for the same goals and we need to co-operate with them.”

Rabobank works with new co-ops in the developing world, Mr Lokin said: “Its quite important to not make them addicted to our help, so we try to push back and we hope we can teach them how to be independent.”

Governments also play a part, explained Dame Green: “In Rwanda, since the genocide, the Co-op Movement started at 0 per cent and is now 8 per cent of the country’s GDP and growing very fast. There’s a great sense of excitement around it.”

It is the UN’s role to enable governments to become open and make the right decisions surrounding co-ops, said Marcella Villarreal.

She added: “I think we were successful in advancing the agenda of co-ops throughout the year, but I think this is just the first step and I think the best is yet to come.”

Monique Leroux explained: “We need to continue to be agile in our own orgs, be innovative to better serve member needs, to work with more co-op partnerships and be very active in bringing education and support for young co-op leaders.”

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