QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 11, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives wound up its work in Quebec City with the three co-hosts adopting a joint Declaration in which participants "reaffirmed the important contributions that cooperatives make to the socio-economic well-being of people and communities" in addition to identifying the key business challenges facing the cooperative movement worldwide.
Over the course of the next 10 days, participants are being invited to share their hopes and ideas to help enrich the Declaration that will be presented to the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) General Assembly in Manchester, England. The Declaration will then be sent to the United Nations Organization.
"The Summit was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and innovative practices. We realized that now is the time to strengthen and develop the cooperative model in all its forms. Both participating cooperatives and mutuals agree on the need to grow in a sustainable way and to extend our global influence by building on the ability to innovate and to work in a spirit of intercooperation, while staying true to our cooperative values and beliefs," says Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. Desjardins Group, the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and Saint-Mary's University were the Summit's three co-hosts.
"Cooperatives have shown themselves to be effective and highly resilient under trying economic conditions. Despite these conditions, the cooperative movement has been able to sustain jobs, small companies, as well as companies in general. They intend to further their involvement on a local, national and international level during a period of economic and financial crisis," adds Dame Pauline Green, President of the ICA. The dean of Saint-Mary's University's Sobey School of Business, Dr. Patricia Bradshaw, concurs: "Cooperatives play an essential role in building a world where we can meet the needs of individuals while focusing on sustainable prosperity."
Bringing together close to 2,800 participants from 91 countries, the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives made it possible to underscore the growing importance of the cooperative model on the global economic scene. Now, more than ever, the cooperative model is one of the solutions to current economic, social and environmental problems. Enjoying the contribution of renowned speakers from every sphere of economic activity, the Summit also enabled participants to elicit priority courses of action for cooperatives and mutuals.
A few statements from the Declaration:
A significant economic role
"Cooperatives and mutuals are businesses that play a significant role in the global economy while ensuring a sustainable development."
To ensure their full potential in a fragile economy, cooperatives must maintain their competitiveness, enhance their performance, be innovative and remain relevant to emerging needs.
Enhancing global and sustainable performance
"The cooperative and mutualist business model is diverse, effective and versatile. It gets people actively involved in the economy and helps generate the growth required for our collective prosperity."
Cooperatives can ensure their ongoing growth by remaining close to their members, developing greater organizational agility in order to better meet challenges, and developing new collaborations, making it possible to combine growth and the improvement of our collective wellbeing.
Adapting to change
"The cooperative and mutual business model knows how to evolve and adapt to the changing conditions of its environment and its members' needs. However, both cooperative governance and their particular method of capitalization pose challenges."
In order to continue distinguishing themselves in a highly competitive environment, cooperatives must improve the management process and member consultation, master new means of communication, develop new financing tools and entertain constructive dialogue with national and international authorities.
Political clout and succession
"It is undeniable that, considered as a whole, cooperative and mutual businesses represent a social, human and economic global powerhouse. But efforts must be made to ensure they gain greater political clout."
The cooperative model has demonstrated its ability to succeed, a recognition that allows it to intervene more forcefully than ever on the international scene. This new reality requires greater visibility of cooperative achievements and their original responses to the challenges of capitalism. Education and succession also deserve a special attention.
A second International Summit of Cooperatives in 2014
In initiating the International Summit of Cooperatives, Desjardins Group President Monique F. Leroux and her co-hosts envisioned a true forum allowing the cooperative world to meet and discuss its major business, economic and social issues.
With such positive feedback from the Summit participants and with the unreserved support of the co-hosts and all of the partners involved, the organizers of this first Summit are seriously contemplating a second Summit in 2014.
SOURCE: 2012 INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT OF COOPERATIVES
For further information:
Nathalie Genest: 418-649-5238