This week sees the official launch of the United Nations Year at the International Co-operative Alliance General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico.
The Co-operative Group have sent a small delegation to join over 2,500 delegates from across the world to be part of a range of conferences and seminar designed to explore our unique enterprises.
Mags Bradbury, National Projects Manager in our membership team has been involved as part of her work on diversity and she is also there to promote our hosting of the global culmination celebrations next year in Manchester.
Mags Bradburys' daily blog..
Its hotting up here in Cancun (metaphorically - its actually raining here today) as the ICA assembly opens its receptions.
As people start to register I can start to see the scale of the event and how co-operators from around the globe are coming together.
Whilst queuing to register I managed to catch up with the Finnish co-operators SOK who visited Manchester and the Co-operative Academy of Manchester four weeks ago. They have asked to run an article and film the work the Academy is doing at putting values into practise for their staff. Its great that they were inspired by our work on co-operative education.
I also met Carolyn Hooper CEO from DotCoop based in Washington, USA. DotCoop is working hard to spread the message that having .coop as the domain name for your co-operative helps people start to understand that co-ops are different.
It’s hot and sunny in Cancun today.
Delegates are arriving from all across the globe. Our Chair Len Wardle arrived last night as did Mervyn Wilson from the Co-operative College and colleges from Co-operatives UK.
I Met with Amy Coughenour Betancourt from the USA today. As Vice President of International Development for NOBA Clusa International she is currently working closely with Co-ops in Haiti to strengthen their governance structure and therefore keep the Co-ops living their values - whilst supporting the regeneration of the area.
I am off to the Gender Committee meeting today - so more from me later.
Top Cancun fact for the day - Cancun is a Mayan word meaning basket of snakes. They don't put that in the tourist brochures!
Ok - this has been a very odd day. I hope my blog makes sense as I am leaving so much out!
Today was the first gender equality meeting. Representatives from 3 of the ICA regions attended - Americas, Asia and Europe.
It was great to hear all the work that goes on across the globe in co-operatives to address the lack of representation from women in the leadership roles in co-operatives. It was interesting to hear the stories of women in co-operatives. It was particularly striking that domestic violence is a common issue across the world.
The representative from the Dominican Republic reported that over 300 women had died in the last year because of domestic violence and often men who committed these crimes were let off with short sentences.
It would be great to see a global campaign on this issue and co-operatives using their support structures to support both women and men who are victims of domestic violence.
It’s been a hectic day here in Cancun - attending the consumer co-operatives worldwide.
The day has ended with the formal opening of the ICA Assembly. Over two thousand co-operators gathered to hear about how co-operatives are force to be reckoned with.
The head of ILO called us “Entrepreneurs of a better world” - what a great description. Dame Pauline Green, President of the ICA made an inspiring speech - with the statistics that co-operative serve half the worlds population in one way or another.
Thursday was a hectic day for all at the ICA General Assembly.
The Gender Executive Committee held a conference to look at how gender equality is achieved in co-operatives across the world.
Elections were held to be a member of the committee and the chair. Yours truly is now a member of the executive. Maria Eugenia, an amazing Colombian co-operator, President of the Americas GEC and top business woman was elected chair.
The conference discussed key topics with a presentation from the World Bank on enterprises in Latin America. We heard from co-operators from across the world and their activities to address the inequalities for women in the world.
It was great to have both women and men at the event - all passionate about gender equality.
Really fascinating to hear that the Colombian government include the economic contribution of stay at home mums in their reports.
Well it’s the last day of the ICA General Assembly.
It’s been a great morning discussing the environmental challenges co-operatives face. We heard from the president of Mexico and his support for Co-operatives both in Mexico and worldwide.
The final part of the day will be the Assembly to discuss key issues for the ICA.
Well all the formal parts of the ICA Assembly in Cancun are closed.
The afternoon was spent voting on motions.
Excitingly for the UK the ICA Assembly voted to have a Special General Assembly at the same time as the closing event of The International Year of Co-operatives at the same time as the Co-op Expo in Manchester in October, Co-operatives United.
There was also resounding support for the declaration of Rochdale as World Co-operative capital. Congratulations Rochdale!
They also passed a motion to support the promotion of the use of sustainable timber and forest products.
Over 78 countries have attended the Assembly. All that's left to do is party tonight at the gala dinner. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.Thank you for reading!