PANEL DISCUSSION ON COOPERATIVES, MICROFINANCE TO MARK INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES, 23 JUNE

Note No. 5947
21 June 2005

PANEL DISCUSSION ON COOPERATIVES, MICROFINANCE TO MARK INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES, 23 JUNE

21/06/2005
Press Release
Note No. 5947

Note to Correspondents


PANEL DISCUSSION ON COOPERATIVES, MICROFINANCE TO MARK

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES, 23 JUNE

 


Will Stress Role of Credit Unions,

Finance Cooperatives in Providing Way out of Poverty


The International Day of Cooperatives will be observed at United Nations Headquarters by a panel discussion on the role of cooperatives and microfinance in poverty reduction, to be held on Thursday, 23 June, from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 5.


Savings and credit cooperatives (credit unions), insurance cooperatives and cooperative banks are amongst the most successful microfinance institutions worldwide.  Credit unions and financial cooperatives have demonstrated that microfinance services can be delivered to the poor in a sustainable way.  Rooted in local communities and managed by local people, they enable the poor to pool their resources so that they can be used for investments and job creation.  The theme of this year’s observance is “Microfinance is OUR Business:  Cooperating out of Poverty”.


At the panel discussion, Djankou Ndjonkou of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) will address cooperatives and social financing; Valerie Breunig of the World Council of Credit Unions will address the role of credit unions in poverty reduction, also focusing on remittances; Paul Hazen of the National Cooperative Business Association will outline the Association’s work in reaching out to the poor in the United States and in providing technical assistance to the poor in developing countries; and Henriette Keijzers of the United Nations Capital Development Fund will illustrate the Fund’s microfinance work in the least developed countries, with emphasis on the cooperative aspect.  Choisuren Baatar, Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations, will chair the discussion, and Johan Schölvinck, Director, Division for Policy and Development, Department for Economic and Social Affairs, will be the moderator.


Among the United Nations specialized agencies, the ILO places great emphasis on the employment creation and poverty alleviation activities of cooperatives, including their capacity to provide social protection, especially to the marginalized sectors of society.  The Wisconsin-based World Council of Credit Unions is the world's leading advocate, platform for innovation and development agency for credit unions.


The Washington-based National Cooperative Business Association is the lead membership association in the United States, representing cooperatives of all types and in all industries.  The United Nations Capital Development Fund is the lead United Nations agency for the International Year of Microcredit, 2005:  it provides grants and soft loans to help build and integrate microfinance into the broader financial sector, offers technical and policy guidance and disseminates field-based knowledge of sound microfinance principles and practices.


The aim of the International Day of Cooperatives is to increase awareness of cooperatives, highlight the common goals of the United Nations and the international cooperative movement, and underscore the contribution of cooperatives to deal with the major problems addressed by the United Nations.  The International Day also seeks to strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors, including governments, at local, national and international levels.


The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, ILO, the Department of Public Information, the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, and the National Cooperative Business Association.


Contact:  Felice Llamas, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, tel: (212) 963 2924, e-mail: llamas@un.org; or Edoardo Bellando, Department of Public Information, tel: (212) 963 8275, e-mail: bellando@un.org.


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For information media. Not an official record.