The International Co-operative Alliance has released a statement to celebrate the UN-backed International Day of Co-operatives on 7 July.
The statement, written by Chuck Gould, Director General for the ICA, was written in keeping with the International Day theme of ‘Co-operative enterprises build a better world’.
The 2012 International Day has “unusual significance”, explained Mr Gould as this year is also the UN’s International Year of Co-operatives.
Mr Gould added: “The IYC is the time to tell the co-operative story to a wider audience. Co-operatives are a key part of the way forward for the 21st century economy.”
The statement describes the role of co-operatives in the global economy, stating that the 300 top co-operative companies have a combined annual turnover of US$1.6 trillion and that they provide over 100 million jobs worldwide.
In Kenya, co-operatives contribute 45 percent of GDP and in the US 30,000 co-ops employ two million people.
“Co-operatives are values-based enterprises. The co-operative has the greatest degree of participatory governance of any of the major enterprise models. Because of this member engagement, co-operatives reflect the values of the community,” Mr Gould said.
The ICA was established in 1895 and works with intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations to promote co-operative development across the world, specifically “to advocate for a legal and regulatory framework that recognises the unique and specific needs for co-operatives to flourish; and with its members to encourage inter-co-operation".
The statement continues by saying that co-operatives cover every sector from agriculture and fisheries to banking and credit unions, “they are building a better world,” Mr Gould added.
ICA first celebrated the International Day in 1923. The International Day is now run in partnership with the UN; and the UN asks all member governments to participate in the celebrations each year.
This is the 90th ICA International Co-operative Day and the 18th UN International Day of Co-operatives.
• See the full statements below; or visit the ICA's website.