"Through their distinctive focus on values, cooperatives have proven themselves a resilient and viable business model that can prosper even during difficult times. This success has helped prevent many families and communities from sliding into poverty."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.
With the theme of "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World", The International Year of Cooperatives has three main objectives:
- Increase awareness:
increase public awareness about cooperatives and their contributions to socio-economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
- Promote growth:
Promote the formation and growth of co-operatives among individuals and institutions to address common economic needs and for socio-economic empowerment
- Establish appropriate policies:
Encourage Governments and regulatory bodies to establish policies, laws and regulation conducive to co-operative formation and growth.
By raising awareness about cooperatives, the Year will help to encourage support and development of cooperative enterprises by individuals and their communities.