TOKYO, Aug. 12 – The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), comprising 311 cooperatives in 109 countries, has released its strategic plan for the coming decade, focusing on facilitating cooperation among cooperatives in such areas as technology.
The 2020-2030 Strategic Plan recommits to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which are also intended to be achieved by 2030, by identifying indicators to estimate the contribution made by cooperatives.
The plan also calls for launching a cooperative International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification and promoting cooperative education and training.
The ICA, with more than 1.2 billion members worldwide, created the new strategic plan based on the 2020 Vision approved in 2012 as a strategic document for the global cooperative movement in conjunction with the U.N. International Year of Cooperatives.
The organization will call on its members to cooperate in realizing the plan.
The plan is made up of four key themes – promotion of the cooperative identity, growth of the cooperative movement, cooperation among cooperatives and contribution to global sustainable development.
Regarding cooperative identity, the plan states that while the cooperative values such as equality, equity and solidarity still ring true, there is a need to strengthen and deepen the identity as cooperatives may come to be viewed as irrelevant in comparison with alternative forms of business.
It says the ICA will work on improving the policy environment for the development of cooperatives and explore cooperative ISO certification, as well as promoting cooperative education and training, including the inclusion of cooperatives in elementary and middle school curricula.
In regards to growth of the cooperative movement, the plan says cooperatives should innovate and adopt new technology to address social and economic needs in a changing environment.
The ICA will promote the inclusion of youth in national cooperative movements and their presence on national boards to ensure that young people have a voice and vote.
As for cooperation among cooperatives, the plan states it can be one of the best ways to increase resources, promote cooperative entrepreneurship and conduct more efficient advocacy work.
Such cooperation should be made in areas such as technology, value chains and trade, the plan said. The ICA will develop a platform with a global directory of cooperatives and create forums for information exchange according to different areas of common interest.
The plan focuses on the need to measure and promote the direct contribution of cooperatives to global sustainable development by identifying key indicators within the SDGs. Clear growth criteria regarding cooperatives will also be developed, as well as specific indicators to monitor the perception of the cooperative movement in public opinion, the plan said.
In relation to agriculture, the plan said innovative agricultural practices for the global agricultural movement will be necessary in making substantial contributions to food security as well as playing a key role in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change.
“Cooperation among cooperatives is promoted in Japan as well, and the SDGs are an important issue in the years towards 2030,” said an official of the Japan Cooperative Alliance (JCA). “We in Japan need to put into practice what is stated in the strategic plan.”
Japanese cooperative associations including the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-ZENCHU), the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (ZEN-NOH), the National Mutual Insurance Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives (ZENKYOREN) and the Japanese Consumers Cooperative Union are members of the ICA which has 125 years of history.