The United Nations is helping to promote the role of co-operatives in the fight against world hunger.
President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, praised co-operatives in a speech at the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the UN.
She said they “free people from hunger and poverty in a globalized world in which crises, including climate change, touch everyone”.
FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, has been a big supporter of the co-operative movement and held up held up Costa Rica as a model of the economic, social and environmental role co-operatives can play.
The President and Graziano da Silva attended a side event on co-operatives held during the Committee on Commodity Problems.
Graziano da Silva has also appointed two Special Ambassadors for Co-operatives to promote their role against global hunger; Elisabeth Atangana and Roberto Rodrígues.
Atangana, from Cameroon, is president of the Panafrican Farmer Forum and the Sub-Regional Platform of Peasant Organizations of Central Africa.
Rodrígues, from Brazil, is president of the Superior Council for Agroindustry of the São Paulo Federation of Industries, former Minister of Agriculture and Supply of Brasil and is the former president of the International Cooperative Alliance.
Antangana and Rodrígues were nominated with the support of the main co-operative and agriculture producer organisations in the world.
When accepting his nomination Rodrígues said: "Let's work together to achieve the Nobel Peace Prize for the international co-operatives movement".
He said that co-operatives are the best allies of democratic governments and "the biggest social movement in the world", with over three billion people involved. "There isn't a bigger movement for peace and democracy."
Graziano da Silva underlined that Atangana represents the important role of women farmers for African agriculture.
"These nominations are a recognition of the importance of cooperatives in promoting food security and the commitment of FAO in widening its cooperation and promoting a constant dialogue with this movement," said Graziano da Silva.