Worldwide study of cooperatives

Over one billion people are members of cooperatives and it is estimated that they account for more than 100 million jobs globally. Zooming in on these enterprises, placing people at the heart of business, UN DESA is conducting a worldwide study of cooperatives to learn more about them and within which areas they are operating.

The United Nations values the important role of cooperatives in social and economic development and their contribution to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. 

“As s strong partner in development, the cooperative movement works with the United Nations every day to empower people, enhance human dignity and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon said as the International Year of Cooperatives came full circle in October 2012.

UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) is currently undertaking a worldwide study of cooperatives. The study will result in a database featuring consolidated and sector-level data on cooperatives across industries and sectors including financial services, agriculture, credit unions, social and public services, commercial sales and marketing, housing and utilities.

To gather information, the study will use existing data sources both from government ministries and cooperative associations. The project will compile the number of cooperatives, the number of clients or members served by each cooperative, and the number of offices. To the extent possible, the project will also compile key economic indicators including annual turnovers, annual gross revenue and total assets at the national level.

With the help of this global study, the international community will gain further knowledge of how cooperatives, with their people-centred approach, contribute to economic and social progress, stimulating economies and enhancing the social fabric of the communities in which they operate.

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