On the International Day of Cooperatives, UN officials advocated for governments to facilitate the growth and development of cooperatives as they are drivers of a sustainable future.
The World Day which is held every first Saturday of July, was theme tagged: “Cooperatives: The power to act for a sustainable future.” According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “Cooperatives play an important role in many societies.”
According to the UN, there are about 2.6 million cooperatives around the world and they employ 12.6 million people.
One person in every six is concerned by cooperatives, according to UN estimates, either being a client or a member of a cooperative, and the cooperatives’ assets are worth $20 trillion and they generate $3 trillion in annual revenue.
The UN chief said: “We believe cooperatives can make significant contributions to the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] on employment, poverty, hunger, and equality.”
Cooperatives have particularly focused on the well-being of the communities they serve as they are owned and run by their members.
As an example, small producers receive help from agricultural cooperatives through the facilitation of access to markets, credit, insurance and technology, while social cooperatives enable a safety net in the face of declining or minimal public welfare, and in the financial sector, cooperatives serve more than 857 million people.
Mr. Ban added: “Let us harness the power of cooperatives to achieve the SDGs and create a world of dignity and opportunity for all.”
Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation said recognized that though Cooperatives are not a new idea they are more relevant in providing solutions to development challenges and opportunities the world faces over the coming decades.
Furthermore, cooperatives together with SMEs will contribute in creating employment opportunities for everyone, especially young people, as the need for new jobs is going to increase globally by 2030.
With all this points, the ILO has endorsed the role of cooperatives as drivers of sustainable development.