The Sustainable Development agenda includes a set of 17 goals with 169 targets designed to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
"In line with Goal 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda, which encourages effective partnerships among governments, the private sector, and civil society to ensure successful sustainable development, cooperatives also recognize their duty to contribute to the search for solutions", says the 2016 declaration.
Co-operative businesses were the first group of enterprises worldwide to endorse the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The preliminary declaration explains how co-operative business models meet the new expectations of consumers, who demand that businesses be more socially and economically responsible, and support sustainable development. The 2016 Summit's declaration includes engagements on food security, economic growth, employment, decent work, access to healthcare, social services, poverty, financial inclusion, climate change and sustainable development.
“Co-operatives are also well aware of the vital role of young people and women in achieving the SDGs, as well as the challenges that will need to be overcome before they can truly be full partners everywhere in the world. Co-operatives have committed to prioritizing the involvement of youth and women in decision-making processes, thereby empowering them to become agents of change.” reads the declaration.
The Summit also featured key sessions with UN ambassadors and representatives, who explored the contribution of co-operatives to meeting the SDGs.
Harald Braun, German Ambassador to the UN, told delegates: “To me it is so obvious that the co-operative movement and Sustainable Development Goals belong together.”
Marc-André Blanchard, the UN’s Canada ambassador, commented: “This is an agenda made in heaven for co-operatives. This is made for you. The world needs you. We need you to make this a success. I could not think of a better organisational structure than the co-operative movement to make this happen under this agenda.”
Co-operators attending the Summit also took part is various sessions where they examined issues such as food security, employment, access to health and social services, poverty and financial inclusion, climate change and sustainable development.
The 2016 Summit's declaration concludes: "To illustrate our first collective action, we are submitting to the UN the 403 projects already underway and the 345 project proposals that came out of the workshops held during the 2016 International Summit of Cooperatives. The aim is to prepare a catalogue of concrete projects to record what is already being done in connection with the 17 sustainable development goals, to inspire other cooperatives and mutuals to set up similar projects, and to develop tools to ensure the results are shared."