Co-operatives build a better world for International Day

24 Jul 2012

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As part of celebrations for International Co-operative Day, co-operatives helped to raise the public awareness of the sector around the world.

In the days leading up to and following the Day, co-operators successfully communicated that Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World in their activities.

In Central America, Costa Rican co-operatives launched a co-op-themed stamp that promotes equality and solidarity. The 30,000 stamps have been supported by the country's national organisations including CONACOOP and INFOCOOP.

Around 5,000 co-operatives descended on Las Tablas, Panama, in a traditional annual celebration. During the day, the government handed USD 4 million to agricultural co-operatives in the country and USD 1.9m towards housing projects.

In Vietnam thousands of people travelled to Hanoi including the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. He said that the Vietnam Co-operative Alliance will play an important role in fulfilling Vietnam’s targets to develop into a modern industrialized country by 2020.

Canada, which has over 9,000 co-operatives representing 8.8 million members, showed that the survival rate of co-operatives is two times better compared to private companies over a period of ten years. The country's Parliament also moved ahead with its commitment to create a special committee on co-operatives, and held a consultation meeting in Ottawa on July 10.

In the United States, the National Cooperative Business Association revealed that almost a third (29 per cent) of the population belonged to a co-operative and 72 percent of Americans think co-operatives such as credit unions and rural electric co-ops, are “helpful to consumers”.

While the UK reported strong economic growth for co-operatives, which outperformed the British economy for four consecutive years. Co-operatives UK reported the movement has grown 1.5% in 2011, which is twice the rate of 0.7% in the national economy.

In Europe, the ICA's sectoral organisation CICOPA issued research that identifies the mechanisms which reinforce the resilience of co-operatives. It noted that the resilience is down to worker-members being co-owners and sharing the responsibility of short and long-term strategies. 

Over the past eight years in Morocco, the movement has doubled from 4,619 co-ops to 9,722. In 2011 a new co-operative bill was approved by the Council of Ministers allowing them to make it easier to create co-ops and allow for better transparency.

Malta, a country with only 55 co-operatives, submitted a bill to Parliament on 6 July to help the creation of more co-ops and to encourage existing ones to help in social aspects.

• To share your co-operative's activities, email the eDigest team or follow these promotional steps here.

Picture: Co-operators celebrate the International Co-operative Day in Panama with IPACOOP's Executive Director Ana Giselle Rosas de Vallarino.