The International Co-operative Alliance met in Sydney (AU) the last week of Feburary, and then traveled to New Zealand to meet with co-operators there. It is the first time in the Alliance's 120 year history to have high level meetings in Australia and New Zealand. Representatives from 19 nations make up the Alliance Board, with the leaders of the largest co-operative medical system in the world (Unimed – Brazil), and a peak body providing 12% of the US with energy (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) among those being represented. Mr Greg Wall, Group CEO of automotive co-operative Capricorn Society, a BCCM member, also sits on the global board as the first Australian representative.
The Alliance delegation was headed by Monique Leroux, President of the International Co-operative Alliance and CEO of Desjardin Group, Canada’s largest financial co-operative with $229 billion in assets and over 7 million members. Mrs Leroux was elected president of the Alliance last November during the Alliance's global conference which saw a 1000+ international audience gather in Antalya, Turkey for a week of networking and debates on co-operative affairs.
Photo: Global development agreement signed in Sydney
While in Sydney, the president of the Alliance and the presidents of the Alliance’s four regional offices, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific and Americas, signed an internal agreement for a global development programme to benefit and advance the co-operative sector worldwide. The programme, which is co-funded by the European Union, is part of Europe’s commitment to support Civil Society Organisations which are active in development.
In an interview with Australia's ABC The Business programme yesterday, Ms Leroux identified major growth opportunities for the co-operative sector in banking, insurance, agri-food and energy sectors.
A highlight of the intensive three day Sydney call was a networking dinner gathering Australian, Asia and Pacific business directors and government officials. Read Alliance president Monique Leroux' speech here.
Photo: Alliance delegation visits Fonterra offices in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Alliance's delegation traveled on March 4th from Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand. The country of New Zealand was awarded in a Bain & Co report the title of the "the most co-operative country in the world". During a packed day of meetings, organized by Co-operative business New Zealand, the Alliance delegation discussed the Alliance's scope and New Zealand co-operators' interests and plans. Ms Leroux visited the Insight.co.nz studios where she provided an interview on the state of co-operatives in the world and their potential for NZ business. The Alliance made a visit to the offices of Fonterra, New Zealand's largest dairy co-operative, and Coop Money, which represents New Zealand co-operatively owned member credit unions and building societies.