More from UNDESA Vol 22, No. 07 - July 2018

Sustainable societies through cooperation

Sustainability is a key principle of the international cooperative movement – from sustainability of local communities to sustainability of our planet, as captured in the internationally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals. In a world of waste and want, the cooperative movement has decided to commemorate the International Day of Cooperatives 2018 under the theme “Sustainable Production and Consumption”.

The International Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of July every year. This year, cooperatives in all countries of the world will be celebrating the day on 7 July 2018, reaffirming commitments to this important cause.

UN DESA’s Division for Inclusive Social Development, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations and the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), is organizing a high-level symposium on 5 July at the United Nations in New York, as a prelude to the International Day.

The slogan of the Day, “Sustainable societies through cooperation,” was selected by cooperators from around the world. Through the International Day, local and global policymakers can learn how cooperatives contribute to more sustainable and resilient societies and work towards including cooperatives in policy processes related to sustainability issues.

Cooperatives have two centuries’ experience building sustainable and resilient societies. Agricultural cooperatives work to maintain the longevity of the land where they grow crops through sustainable farming practices. Consumer cooperatives support sustainable sourcing for their products and educate consumers about responsible consumption. Housing cooperatives help ensure safe dwellings. Utility cooperatives are engaged in the transition to cleaner electricity and rural access to energy and water. Worker and social cooperatives aim to provide goods and services in an efficient, planet-friendly way while creating long-term, sustainable jobs.

The 2018 IDC theme is also aligned with that of the 2018 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), which is: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.

For more information about the Day, please visit:

Advancing youth skills for sustainability and innovation

Today there are 1.2 billion people aged 15-24 in the world, and these young people are arguably part of the most educated and innovative generation that has ever existed. Many youth are growing up in a more connected world, with instant access to information and technology. To the extent possible, young people are leveraging the potential of technological advancements for innovative environment, economic, and social development. It was against this backdrop that the UN General Assembly in December 2014 declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day.

The 4th Industrial Revolution, characterized by advancements in technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and machine learning has greatly changed the nature of work. The World Programme of Action on Youth (WPAY), highlighted information and communications technology as a priority area for youth development, and since its adoption, there is a higher demand for digital and soft skills. However, the lack of skills coupled with skills erosion and mismatch have become the norm for today’s youth who are entering the global workforce.

The current generation of youth are exploring their own interests with more flexibility and innovation in pursuit of finding more sustainable and innovative ways to contribute to a sustainable future. Youth are increasingly adopting social entrepreneurship and social enterprises to address different challenges from climate change, food security, green jobs, education etc. potentially contributing to the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, there is need for greater support to advance and invest in youth skills in both the formal and informal sectors to promote sustainability, innovation and economic security especially for those transitioning from school to work.

For more information: World Youth Skills Day

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