UN launches International Year of Co-operatives 2012 in New York

In recognition of the immense role co-operatives play in the global community, and to help spread awareness in the hopes for more to develop, the United Nations (UN) launched its International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) on Monday, October 31 in New York. During the ceremony, representatives outlined the importance co-operatives already have on the global economy, and the benefits of turning more business from commercial to co-operative and mutual.


Throughout 2012, the UN will host a number of events to bring the global community together to gain a better understanding of what co-operatives are, as well as inform how best to create and foster a co-operative. In a press release sent out by the UN in regards to the IYC, the UN stated that already, the lives of nearly 1 billion people worldwide are affected by a co-operative, and that co-operatives have pulled millions of people out of the depths of poverty. A main aim of the IYC is to highlight this idea, that co-operatives are a means for a multitude of people to gain financially, not just those who are already wealthy.


On the IYC’s website, it explains that 2012 is meant to celebrate “a different way of doing business, one focused on human need not human greed.” It also outlined three main goals: to increase awareness about co-operatives and mutuals, to promote their growth and to establish appropriate policies to better aid the development of them. Additionally, it listed two main events, both taking place in Quebec City, Canada: a pre-summit event titled “Imagine 2012” and an international summit on co-operatives. Presidents and CEOs of the current 300 largest co-operatives in the world – 18 of which are in the United Kingdom – will be in attendance and share their stories of how they created successful, profitable co-operatives.


The UN hopes that the IYC will help inspire people worldwide, especially those living in poverty, to consider becoming involved in co-operatives. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “Co-operatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.”


To learn more about the International Year of Co-operatives, including a list of its events, visit www.2012.coop.

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