The intention of the General Assembly is that the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives marks the beginning of a worldwide campaign to take the co-operative way of doing business to a new level. The ambitious plan in this Blueprint - the “2020 vision” - is for the co-operative form of business by 2020 to become:
• The acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability
• The model preferred by people
• The fastest growing form of enterprise
The 2020 vision seeks to build on the achievements of the International Year of Co-operatives and the resilience demonstrated by the co-operative movement since the great financial collapse. By pursuing the strategy outlined in this Blueprint, we aim to make 2011-2020 a Co-operative Decade of confident growth.
The International Year of Co-operatives has provided a powerful focal point for the sector. It has heightened its sense of shared purpose, illustrated by the range of activities and celebrations of the International Year, by the number of international conferences and summits held around the world with agreed outcome declarations, as well as the widespread take-up of the 2012 International Year logo and tagline by co-operatives around the world. It has raised the profile of co-operatives beyond the limits of the sector itself, in civil society and amongst governmental and inter-governmental bodies.
These are significant achievements, but they need to be seen in the context of the dominant emerging trends that are likely to shape our politics, societies and economies for the foreseeable future. Some of the most crucial global trends are:
• Environmental degradation and resource depletion
• An unstable financial sector
• Increasing inequality
• A growing global governance gap
• A seemingly disenfranchised younger generation
• A loss of trust in political and economic organisations
Co-operatives already make a significant contribution towards alleviating these pressing global problems. But, with appropriate support and greater understanding and recognition, they could contribute much more. The challenge now is for the ICA, national bodies, sector groups, co-operative societies and individual members to take this Blueprint forward into implementation.