This year’s International Day of Cooperatives falls at a critical time. The United Nations is working to lay the groundwork for success on three major fronts in 2015: reaching the Millennium Development Goals; achieving a meaningful new climate agreement; and adopting a long-range agenda for inclusive sustainable development.
Cooperative enterprises can help further these objectives. They are helping communities in both developed and developing countries to generate energy, manage water supplies and provide other basic services. Cooperatives are particularly important to agriculture, food security and rural development. In the finance sector, cooperatives serve more than 857 million people, including tens of millions who live in poverty.
As member-owned, member-run and member-serving businesses, cooperatives can put social justice and equity at the heart of economic progress while helping to ensure that the production and provision of goods and services matches the needs and aspirations of communities.
On this International Day of Cooperatives, let us commit to making even greater use of these arrangements to empower people and usher in a more sustainable future.