Plans have been unveiled at the International Co-operative Alliance conference for the International Day of Co-operatives (IDC) in 2016.
Since 1923, the Alliance has designated the first Saturday of July as an annual opportunity to raise awareness for the global co-operative movement. Each year, a theme is chosen to reflect topical events. Co-operatives around the world celebrate the day, as well as government officials and the United Nations.
Up until now, there has not been a concerted effort to combine these celebrations. Now, the Alliance’s communications committee has suggested that the IDC is the ideal time to combine and align all communications and policy strategies.
The UN has laid out 17 Sustainable Development Goals, targeting areas like poverty, clean water and reducing inequality. The IDC in 2016 falls at the time when the first phase of this plan is being implemented. As well as that, it also falls during the second phase of the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade – a global strategy aimed at making the co-operative business model the world’s leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability.
The Alliance believes the UN’s Goals are an ideal opportunity to use the IDC to further its advocacy work and partner members with global and local institutions to achieve sustainable development while also contributing to the Blueprint goals.
The Alliance aims are:
- Position co-operatives as key partners for achieving the post-2015 development agenda
- Unite co-operatives under a common advocacy and communications campaign
- Raise awareness among intergovernmental, regional, national and local institutions about the importance of co-operatives to achieving sustainable development.
One idea that has been raised is an online platform for co-ops to learn more about the SDGs and commit to pledges aimed at achieving them. An event for the IDC in July 2016 could launch this platform globally, held at UN headquarters in New York. The Alliance would ask members to present commitments towards achieving the SDGs.
At the General Assembly in Turkey, the chair of the communications committee, Ed Mayo, said: “As with the International Year of Co-operatives, we want to build critical mass. Can we celebrate co-operatives on this one day in 100 countries around the world? Yes we can, if you decide to help participate. This makes commercial sense to promote our shared business model.”