Year celebrating cooperatives comes full circle

Over one billion people are members of cooperatives and it is estimated that they account for more than 100 million jobs worldwide. During 2012, the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) has put spotlight on this enterprise model, placing people at the heart of business. The year culminates on 19-20 November with a closing ceremony featuring a short film festival.

The official closing event themed “Promoting Cooperatives Beyond 2012” will take place at UN Headquarters in New York and it will highlight major outcomes of various observances during the year, as well as coming initiatives to strengthen cooperatives beyond 2012.

The role of cooperatives when it comes to global food security and youth employment will be discussed and reports from national committees will be conveyed. The event will also feature the IYC Short Film Festival on 20 November. Filmmakers from around the world have been invited to submit their contributions showcasing the important role of cooperatives and encouraging support and development of cooperative enterprises by individuals and their communities. Seven winners will receive an award certificate during the IYC closing ceremony.

The event is organized by DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations and Rabobank.

Intended to raise public awareness of how cooperatives contribute to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration, the International Year of Cooperatives was launched on 31 October 2011. The year also sought to promote growth and the creation of cooperatives worldwide and to encourage individuals, communities and governments to acknowledge the role cooperatives play in helping to achieve internationally agreed upon development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Cooperatives empower their members and strengthen communities. They promote food security and enhance opportunities for small agricultural producers. They are better tuned to local needs and better positioned to serve as engines of local growth. By pooling resources, they improve access to information, finance and technology. And their underlying values of self-help, equality and solidarity offer a compass in challenging economic times,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this year when the International Day of Cooperatives was celebrated.

The events will be broadcast live on 19 and 20 November via http://webtv.un.org/

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