The international co-operative movement has committed itself to a joint project for the current decade, which it has dubbed the co-operative decade.
At the most recent assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), held in Manchester in November 2012, the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade was debated and agreed, a document setting out the “2020 Vision”, the aim of which is to ensure that within this timeframe the co-operative business model will have established itself as the recognised leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability, the preferred model of citizens and the fastest-growing enterprise structure. Following the debate at the assembly, the ICA gathered together all the contributions to incorporate them within the definitive document which was recently published.
Taking advantage of the impetus given by International Year of Co-operatives, held during 2012 thanks to the proclamation by the UN General Assembly, the document stresses the fact that co-operatives now face a historic opportunity. While the political institutions in many countries are struggling to keep abreast of a rapidly changing world, it is vital that citizens should show increasing initiative, enterprise and a co-operative vocation in dealing with the inevitable social and environmental challenges affecting our global community. Seldom have the arguments in favour of co-operatives been as relevant as in 2012. Numerous facts and figures illustrate that the way in which co-operatives engage in their business activities is better than the system which is currently failing. However, if joint progress is not achieved over the coming years, then the moment will have been lost.
The strategy for embarking on the co-operative decade focuses on 5 critical and interrelated aspects: participation by members, the sustainability of enterprises, co-operative identity and values, the influence of the legal framework, and capital.