I am sorry that the International Co-operative Alliance’s current President Monique Leroux is stepping down after only two years in post. Monique, who previously led the Canadian financial co-operative Desjardins, has contributed a great deal in recent years to the international co-operative movement.
Normally ICA Presidents serve four year terms. Monique was elected for an initial two-year term (because Britain’s Pauline Green resigned two years before the end of her second term) and this may have made it harder for her to assert her leadership over a sometimes fissiparous global movement. Some people were reportedly already preparing themselves for a leadership challenge in the Presidential election which had to follow the end of Monique’s first two-year period.
I do worry about the ICA. It has recently seen its Secretary-General Chuck Gould announce his forthcoming retirement, and its financial base remains more shaky than you’d wish. (It’s not necessarily easy to persuade co-ops than they need to support the global pyramid body). Add to that some somewhat tedious internal politics between different national and regional blocs within the ICA and you have a recipe for difficulties. The forward-looking Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, launched after the 2012 UN Year of Co-operatives, is now looking overly hopeful.
But of course we need internationalism in the co-operative movement, and we need the ICA to lead the way. Fingers crossed that things will get sorted. And good luck to the next President – it’s not an easy job.