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Achieving sustainable development for all through cooperative ownership and participation

4 July 2014 [ English ] français ]

On the eve of the International Cooperative Day, CICOPA, the voice of worker, social and artisans’ cooperatives, is underlining the high potential of inclusion of those cooperatives being strongly linked to their ownership and participation, which is inherent in their mission. This capacity to include people merges with an equal redistribution of wealth and the fight against poverty, which are essential to achieve sustainable development for all. That is to say: cooperatives help to integrate the individuals socially and economically in the society.

In the document “The Future We Want”, adopted in 2012 at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, the vital role played by a “dynamic, inclusive, well-functioning, socially and environmentally responsible private sector” was recognized as a valuable instrument that can offer “a crucial contribution to economic growth and reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development”. Cooperatives, one of the actors of the private sector, are particularly well-adapted to meet that because their identity and functioning rely on two key and inter-related concepts, namely the involvement of members co-owners and the concern for the surrounding community. Producers, consumers, users and workers, the main categories of cooperative members, are key stakeholders in a given community that logically tend to opt for enterprise strategies which respond to local community needs which the cooperative aims to satisfy.

At this respects, it must be underlined that, cooperatives from the 10 biggest world economies generate an aggregate turnover slightly lower than the GDP of Italy, they amass a membership of at least 15% of the world’s adult population and are fundamental actors in development. In particular, industrial, artisanal and service producers’ cooperatives directly contribute to development through the creation and maintenance of long-term and locally-embedded jobs - 4 million jobs all over the world are provided by those enterprises - and economic activities as well as providing community services such as health, social or educational services.

As part of the answer to the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda, CICOPA is publishing today the results of the study “Cooperatives as builders of sustainable development”, showing the state-of-the-art of worker, social and artisans’ cooperatives in contributing to sustainable development. The document concludes that equal wealth creation and redistribution resulting from stable jobs and an equitable access to goods and services should be among the main goals to achieve sustainable development. CICOPA states that the promotion and development of cooperatives should be pursued by the Post-2015 Development Agenda and applied in all UN Member States. Download the report “Cooperatives as builders of sustainable development”, launched by CICOCPA today here

This year, the cooperative movement is celebrating its International Day on the theme “Cooperative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all”. Read the messages of the International Cooperative Alliance and the address by United Nations at the occasion of the 2014 International Cooperative Day.