Advisory Group of the International Year of Cooperatives

Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Good afternoon,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to this first meeting of the Advisory Group of the International Year of Cooperatives.

First, let me express my deep appreciation for your time and talent.

Serving as a member of this Advisory Group in your personal capacity is an act of generosity.

The International Year of Cooperatives is an important event at the United Nations.

It provides an opportunity to support something we truly believe in.

Cooperatives are a longstanding and strategic component of sustainable social and economic development.

By contributing your valuable time, and your financial and intellectual resources, you help ensure that we fully leverage the potential of the Year.

As the Advisory Group, you have agreed to provide strategic guidance to the Coordinating Committee with regard to events, partnerships, outreach, and other relevant activities.

With your help, we will achieve the objectives of the International Year in the most effective way possible.

Let me share at least three suggestions for your consideration.  We should:

  • first, educate today’s youth on how cooperatives provide entrepreneurial empowerment;
  • second, partner and dialogue with Governments to review prevailing policies, laws and regulations so that cooperatives can grow more easily;
  • third, identify priority strategies to promote and strengthen cooperatives .

I hope through the celebration of the International Year, and through your dedicated support, people all around the world, from the household to the ministerial level, will know the term “cooperatives.”

They will understand the unique capacities and potential of cooperatives.

Furthermore, the political and legislative environments will hopefully become more supportive. And cooperatives will develop needed internal capacities for further growth and better support to their members.

Together, we can ensure that cooperatives reach their full potential for sustainable development.

Next June, the United Nations will convene a summit level conference on sustainable development, also known as Rio+20.

Secretary-General Ban has appointed me Conference Secretary-General.  Wearing that hat, let me also invite this Advisory Group to think about how cooperatives can contribute to sustainable development.

This is our goal, and I thank you for working with us to achieve it.

I wish you a productive first meeting.

Thank you.