Today, Monday, 11 July 2016 during the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York, the International Co-operative Alliance acknowledged the UN’s recognition of the power of co-operatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Alliance has been a longstanding partner to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). (Download the press release in PDF format)
With ECOSOC, the Alliance has been working to create and co-ordinate sustainable co-operative development by promoting and raising awareness on co-operatives, holding policy dialogues and advocating policies that enable co-operative success. The Alliance showcased achievements of co-operatives in creating decent employment, engaging public-private partnerships for food security and hunger eradication, and empowering women as community leaders – each key Sustainable Development Goals.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on the occasion of the 2016 International Day of Co-operatives, July 2nd 2016, said: “I urge Governments to create an enabling environment for cooperatives to thrive and grow. Let us harness the power of co-operatives to achieve the SDGs and create a world of dignity and opportunity for all."
Alliance president, Monique F. Leroux: “We are grateful for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s support. Today is the day to commit to being a part of a different future than the one where we are otherwise headed. Ensuring that no one is left behind and contributing to eradicating poverty, co-operatives are unique in that they combine economic success with democratic governance and concern for community. This makes co-ops inherently sustainable businesses - significant social and economic actors. Co-ops generate more than 2.6 trillion USD in annual revenues and create over 250 million jobs. By actively engaging co-operatives around the world to make a specific measurable pledge toward the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, the Alliance demonstrates that co-ops actually put their business where their values are - we walk the talk.”
Ariel Guarco, President of the Co-operative Confederation of Argentina (Cooperar) and Alliance board member, said as Chair of the event: “Joining forces in defence of the sustainability of our planet is as natural for co-operatives as joining forces in each of our localities, out of solidarity, to solve our common problems. A co-operative doesn’t need to be induced to be socially responsible. It is social responsibility in an enterprise form.” The Alliance presented at the side event the first results its Co-ops for 2030 platform (www.coopsfor2030.coop). This global campaign unites and engages co-operatives in the SDG implementation process. A dedicated team managing the project teaches co-operatives through its web site about the SDGs and collects pledges by co-ops to achieve them.
Nearly 100 pledges have already been received. This fall, the leading event for business development in the cooperative community, the International Summit of Co-operatives (www.summit.coop, 11 to 13 October 2016), will bring together leading co-operators, global agencies, and world-renowned experts for a full day of dialogue on resolving global issues and supporting the SDGs.
Side event participants heard inspiring commentaries by Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), His Excellency Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative, Mission of Italy to the UN, His Excellency Sukhbold Sukhee, Permanent Representative, Mission of Mongolia to the UN, His Excellency Vincent T. Seretse, Minister for Investment, Trade and Industry of the Republic of Botswana, and Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships for the World Bank Group.
The side event was organised by COPAC, the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives. COPAC is a multi-stakeholder partnership in which the International Co-operative Alliance, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, the International Labour Organisation and the World Farmers Organisation take part to advance the co-operative model.
COPAC champions Co-operative enterprises as leaders in sustainable development, through knowledge building, awareness raising and engaging in global policy processes. About the High-level Political Forum The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is United Nations central platform for the follow-up and review of the2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is to promote and review the implementation of sustainable development and to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations.