International Co-operative Alliance President Dame Pauline Green highlighted the importance of the co-operative movement during a keynote address to the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions Forum last month.
Dame Pauline said on 7 September that co-ops can play a key role in the recovery from the financial crisis: “During the global financial meltdown over the last four years, our co-operative financial institutions, including credit unions, have fared much better than their competitors.” She further congratulated the Philippines and other Asian economies for “offering the hope to the struggling world that a way can be found to put the global economy on an sound footing”.
Dame Pauline also placed a strong emphasis on the way in which credit unions have coped with the crisis, saying that co-operative financial institutions have come through the crisis stronger. “Buoyed by the knowledge that our sector most often only lends from its own deposits, and does not engage with the more risky financial ventures — across the world our deposits have risen,” she said.
The ICA President added that “we live in interesting times” with the International Year of Co-operatives marking a new era in co-operative history. Co-ops can propose a “different sort of business that works to put the local, regional and global economy at the service of the people, rather than leaving people at its mercy,” said Dame Pauline.
She further explained how in a global market, the global co-operative movement needs a global voice, and the IYC is a great opportunity to raise global awareness. The ICA President gave examples of how co-operatives build a better world saying “co-operatives and credit unions have taken millions out of poverty with dignity, by helping them to build their own co-operative businesses”.
The ICA President also said co-ops need to make sure they are “fit for purpose”, staying up to date, modern, flexible and innovating in order to “build a better world” together.
The Forum took place in the Philippines between 2-8 September and was hosted by the Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives and the National Confederation of Cooperatives. The Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions reaches more that 21,000 credit unions in 25 countries representing over 37 million members.
The event brought many leaders of the co-operative movement to Philippines including Christian Albrecht, Director - Vietnam Program of the German Cooperatives and Reiffeisen Confederation, Peter K. Challis, Chief Executive Officer of WAW Credit Union in Australia, Dr. Chan Ho Choi, Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Paul Dawson, CEO of First Choice Credit Union based in Regional New South Wales and Denyse Guy, Executive Director of the Canadian Co-operative Association.
Pictured: Dame Pauline is with Ranjith Hettiarachchi, CEO of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, who presented five savings and credit co-operatives from Nepal that have achieved a quality standard developed by Asian credit unions named ACCESS (A1 Competitive Choice for Excellence in Service and Soundness).