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UN, FAO and ILO celebrate cooperatives

UN, FAO and ILO celebrate cooperatives

Thursday, 4 July 2013 - 2pm

On the occasion of the International Day of Cooperatives, on the 6th of July, United Nations (UN), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) released a statement to support cooperative businesses.  

The theme of the 91st International Day of Cooperatives is ‘Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis’.

"Over the course of the ongoing global financial and economic crises, financial cooperatives have proven their strength and resilience, benefitting members, employees and customers.  They have maintained high credit ratings, increased assets and turnover, and expanded their membership and customer base. Likewise, after disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and floods, cooperatives have shown their ability to mobilize solidarity for reconstruction.  Agricultural cooperatives improve the productivity of farmers by facilitating access to markets, credit, insurance and technology.  Social cooperatives can provide an important safety net in the face of declining or minimal public welfare.  They also show considerable potential for empowering youth and alleviating the growing global youth jobs crisis". (Extract from UN statement)

“Cooperatives can be key drivers of local development, as they strive not only to improve livelihoods and incomes, but also to strengthen the capacities of members, particularly through investments in technical expertise, business know-how and organizational development. Cooperatives focus on serving members and communities. They help build a “solidarity economy” that emphasizes mutual self-help, inclusion, participation and concern for community, thereby reflecting the priority placed on goals beyond the profit motive. They help ensure decent, regular incomes to their members and enable local access to safe, affordable and nutritious food. Cooperatives are also known to be effective agents for empowering rural women and youth, providing skills and experience that boost their economic independence and social standing”. (Extract from the FAO statement)

“Given their values foundation, cooperative enterprises are well-placed to be leaders in making decent work part of a just transition. As global attention focuses on the challenge of sustainable development, cooperatives can and must play a key role as creative enterprises expanding into new and innovative areas from recycling to renewable energy, providing people with know-how, inputs, finance and markets at fair prices with low-environmental impact and making a valuable contribution to a just transition to a low-carbon sustainable development path”. (Extract from the ILO statement)

Cooperatives Europe welcomes these support messages from FAO and ILO, just a few days after the European Parliament adopted a report on endorsing cooperatives in Europe.

Klaus Niederländer, Director of Cooperatives Europe, added: “The International Cooperative Day is a great occasion for international and European public bodies to put their support behind a business, which combines economic viability with social responsibility. Yet words will need to be followed by concrete action to prove to the European citizens the seriousness of that proclaimed support in making cooperatives flourish.”