In 2017 the International Day of Cooperatives will be celebrated on Saturday 1 July with the theme “Cooperatives ensure no one is left behind”.
Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF – the insurance sectoral body of the ICA) says: “Around the world cooperatives are helping to reduce inequality by empowering people and by offering them a dignified and sustainable way to make a living. The size and impact of the cooperative (and mutual) sector should not be underestimated. Our Global Mutual Market Share research shows that the social impact of cooperative/mutual insurance is great with over 1.12 million people employed by the sector around the world, and 988 million people being served as members or policyholders of mutual/cooperative insurers. This gives us every reason to celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives this year whilst reminding ourselves of the need to continue our fight to increase equality and to ensure no- one is left behind.”
The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) first celebrated the International Day in 1923. In 1992 the United Nations (UN), in UN resolution 47/90, recognised the importance of cooperatives for economic, social and cultural development and proclaimed that in 1995 a UN International Day of Co-operatives would be celebrated marking the centenary of the establishment of the International Cooperative Alliance. An international day of cooperatives has been celebrated yearly ever since.
The ICA says that the aim of celebrating the day is to increase awareness of cooperatives. It is also to promote the cooperative movement's successes and ideals of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace. The ICA and the UN, through the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), jointly set the theme for the celebration of the International Day. It underscores the contribution of the movement to resolving global issues addressed by both the cooperative movement and the United Nations.
The UN has also consistently stated its recognition and reaffirmation of the role of cooperatives in economic, social and cultural development and in the achievement of social policy objectives as shown in various resolutions specific to cooperatives.
According to the UN, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is now well underway, and cooperative businesses remain one of the best-kept secrets in the SDG toolbox. The UN has affirmed its belief that cooperative enterprises are based on ethics, values, and a set of seven fundamental principles that keep people, rather than profit, at the centre of their businesses and that cooperatives can be a self-help tool for people to create their own economic opportunities through the power of the collective and pull themselves out of poverty. By being sources of decent work, spaces for democracy and peace building, and an economic force (the top 300 cooperatives alone generate 2.5 trillion USD in annual turnover, more than the GDP of France), the UN says it believes that cooperatives are truly a partner in transforming our world.
COPAC will host the observance of the 2017 International Day of Cooperatives during the 2017 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development: ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’. During the Forum they will examine topics including:
- How exactly are people-centred, values-based enterprises helping to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity?
- How are they reaching those most at risk for being left behind?
- And what can governments, civil society, and the UN system do to better support cooperatives in their mission to build a better world?
The event will feature high-level speakers from COPAC’s membership, cooperatives in the field, and Permanent Representations to the UN. Participants will be invited to engage in an interactive discussion with our speakers and to enjoy the debut of COPAC’s video ‘Cooperatives ensure no one is left behind’.
There are many ways to celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives:
- Communicate to policymakers in your city, country, or region how cooperatives are building a better world, and ask for their support
- Organize a celebration that showcases your cooperative’s contributions to inclusion
- Post videos and photos on social media and online that illustrate how your cooperative ensures no one in your community is left behind
Spread the word and connect!
- Websites: http://bit.ly/UN-IDC2017 | www.un.org/en/events/cooperativesday | copac.coop
- Follow on twitter @UNCoops and @UNDESASocial
- Use #CoopsDay, #SDGs, #GlobalGoals for tweets on the International Day of Cooperatives