Co-operatives: major contributors for Sustainable Development

24 Mar 2014

By Rodrigo Gouveia

The United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals were set in the year 2000 and include ambitious aims in different fields that range from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality and empower women, achieving universal primary education to ensuring environmental sustainability. These targets were to be achieved by the end of 2015.

The UN is now in the process of evaluating the achievements and, most importantly, of setting new goals for the post-2015 period. It is general global consensus that this time the UN will focus on Sustainable Development Goals, therefore putting an emphasis on sustainability. The new goals are under discussion and will only be formally approved in 2015. However, there are indications that the new goals will cover areas such as food security, health, combatting poverty, climate change, generating employment and growth, among other topics that are very close to the co-operative model of business.

It is of vital importance for the co-operative movement to influence this process and try to get co-operative enterprises recognized as a well-suited model of business for delivering these goals. The Sustainable Development Goals will shape the global agenda for many years to come and co-operatives need to be involved and recognized so that they can benefit from the policies and programs that will follow those goals.

In this respect, the International Co-operative Alliance has published a document setting the general position of the co-operative movement in this area.

In it, we call for the UN to:

  • Recognize that co-operative enterprises are a well-suited model of business to deliver Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Include specific targets and indicators related to the promotion and development of co-operatives in all countries;
  • Give co-operatives access to implementation measures and programs, including funding;
  • Ensure that co-operative organizations can participate in decision-making processes.

The Alliance will make efforts to achieve these important policy objectives. However, it is of crucial importance that all members at national, regional and sectoral levels support this initiative by influencing their governments, parliaments and other institutions in the same direction.

We count on your help!

For more information or assistance, please contact the Alliance’s Director of Policy, Rodrigo Gouveia:



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