TOGETHER FOR A CO-OPERATIVE AND MUTUAL MOVEMENT CLOSELY CONNECTED TO ITS MEMBERS, ENGAGED AND GROWING
What an exceptional year we have just had! 2016 saw the International Co-operative Alliance significantly strengthen its position. We experienced the full power of the words Unite, Promote and Develop. I believe that this would be a good time to give you a first full update.
Over the past year, our Movement racked up a series of firsts.
First, we signed a historic agreement with the European Commis- sion for $10 million over five years to support the development of co-operatives and mutuals around the world. This agreement, which was structured in close collaboration with Co-operatives Europe, promotes tangible assistance to regions and sectors for local development.
Collectively, we attended numerous forums. I am thinking in particular of our participation in the B20s in Turkey and China, and now the work underway in Germany.
We also organized major events in the United Nations to promote our ability to act for the well-being of our communities.
I thank and congratulate all those who were involved in our efforts to provide active representation on behalf of the International Co-operative Alliance.
I would also like to thank everyone who is involved in the regions, sectors and committees. Your work and commitment helped the Movement progress.
I would like to highlight the work of the Leadership circle and the Co-operative round table, which brought to the fore a number of concrete ideas and initiatives, including the “Co-operatives for a better world” marketing campaign, as well as Blue Ribbon projects on capital.
Those two committees also evaluated how co-operative and mutual businesses can work together on the global stage to enhance our contribution to the economy, by creating a centre of expertise or e-commerce platforms. Your contribution is essential.
Moreover, 2016 was also a year when more of our members were brought together through numerous regional, national and global thematic and sectoral conferences. The third edition of the International Summit of Co-operatives is another telling example of this mobilization. Launched in 2012, that event has become a concrete demonstration of the strength of our Move- ment. For that third edition, we had close to 3,000 participants from around the world representing more than 116 countries. The Summit demonstrated the tenacity, coherence, solidity, weight and diversity of every aspect of the co-operative and mutual Movement: social innovation, democratic participation, creativity, collective action and flexibility. Together, we affirmed our leadership on the international stage.
We are also the first global economic group to engage in a concrete undertaking in support of sustainable development piloted by the United Nations. Our final declaration, which we will be tabling before that organization, will be supported by an action plan aimed at highlighting those projects. That plan will guide our actions until 2030.
Finally, I want to underline the considerable amount of work undertaken by the board of directors for the second phase of our Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade and on the strategic reflections aimed at giving us the means to achieve our ambitions. For the first time in an official manner, in 2016, regional and sectoral managements, along with the board of directors, shared their priorities and development plans. Their work will continue into 2017, as the Alliance conducts an extensive consultation with its members. The outcome of our collective work will be shared at the next Alliance’s general assembly and global conference, in Malaysia.
The co-operative model has always been remarkably adaptable and innovative. The co-operative approach, cast against the backdrop of human values, is a reasoned and reasonable eco- nomic and social model, both engaged and engaging, imbued with a keen sense of social justice and resolutely turned to the future. Thank you all, dear members who, through your contri- butions to the Alliance, demonstrate your trust in our organiza- tion.
I wish every one of you an excellent year ahead: 2017 promises to be every bit as full, shaped by cooperation, faith and optimism. We represent the potential for a better world, one that is more fair, inclusive and prosperous.
Cordially and in cooperation,
Monique F. Leroux