The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is well underway, and cooperative businesses remain one of the best-kept secrets in the SDG toolbox. Cooperative enterprises are based on ethics, values, and a set of seven fundamental principles that keep people, rather than profit, at the centre of their businesses.
Cooperatives can be a self-help tool for people to create their own economic opportunities through the power of the collective and pull themselves out of poverty. They re-invest in the communities in which they operate, securing not only the livelihoods of their members but also increasing the wealth of the community as a whole. By being sources of decent work, spaces for democracy and peace building, and an economic force (the top 300 cooperatives alone generate 2.5 trillion USD in annual turnover, more than the GDP of France), cooperatives are truly a partner in transforming our world.
How exactly are these people-centred, values-based enterprises helping to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity? How are they reaching those most at risk for being left behind? And what can governments, civil society, and the UN system do to better support cooperatives in their mission to build a better world?
To answer these questions and share cooperative solutions for inclusive development, the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) will host the observance of the 2017 International Day of Cooperatives during the High-level Political Forum.
The 2017 International Day of Cooperatives will focus on ‘inclusion’ under the theme ‘Co-operatives ensure no one is left behind’, which complements the priority theme of the 2017 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development: ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’.