Co-operatives help stem inequality said the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon.
In a statement for the UN-celebrated International Day of Cooperatives on 4 July, which has a theme of ‘choose co-operative, choose equality’, he said the day “highlights the invaluable role of co-operatives in making the vision of a sustainable future a reality for everyone”.
Ahead of a meeting at the UN’s headquarters in New York next week to highlight the role of co-ops and equality, Ban said: “Inequality is a fundamental obstacle to development, depriving people of basic services and opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their children.
“The co-operative model helps meet this challenge. Co-operatives strive to uphold the principles of equality and democratic participation. They are strongly committed to the communities they serve. This business model, built on inclusion and sustainability, offers a pathway towards economic, social and political justice for all.”
Referring to research unveiled at last year’s International Summit of Cooperatives, he highlighted the impact of the sector: “Research has shown that co-operatives help to lower wage differences between men and women, and promote greater equality in work and training opportunities. With an estimated one in every six people in the world either a member or client of a co-operative, and some 2.6 million co-operatives employing 12.6 million people, the potential contribution to sustainable development is enormous.”
Next Wednesday’s meeting in New York will take place during the high-level discussions at the UN on sustainable development and a look at the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The event, organised by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (Copac), aims to highlight the role of co-operatives and how the sector can help achieve sustainable development goals.
In his statement, Ban added: “In this crucially important year in which the world will commit itself to an inspiring new development agenda, including a set of sustainable development goals, let us recommit to the co-operative business model and use its many benefits to fulfil our vision of a life of dignity for all.”