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Leaders celebrate International Day of Co-operatives
Co-operators will be celebrating a unique International Co-operative Day on 7 July as it falls during the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives.
Prominent figures from the co-operative movement and the UN have shown their support for the International Day by praising the work of co-operatives.
Dame Pauline Green, President of the ICA, described co-operatives as a “huge and inspiring movement". She told stories of co-operators across the world who have been celebrating the International Year of Co-operatives, from the Nepalese co-operators who took the ICA flag to the top of Mount Everest to the release of four childrens' books on co-operation in Singapore.
“The critical thing for us this year is to raise the profile of our inspirational movement, and tell the stories about these wonderful co-operatives,” she said. “We hope that at the end of this year, we will pivot and transition from a really successful exciting International Year to a decade of co-operative growth.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also released a video for the UN's 18th International Day of Co-operatives. Ban Ki-moon celebrated the successes of the co-operative movement from strengthening communities to promoting food security.
He praised the work of co-operatives in “supporting indigenous communities” and encouraged stakeholders to continue to raise awareness and pursue policies that strengthen co-operatives. “By contributing to human dignity and global solidarity, co-operatives truly do build a better world;” he added.
A statment for 90th ICA International Co-operative Day has also been released by Chuck Gould, Director General for the ICA, with the theme: ‘Co-operative enterprises build a better world’.
Mr Gould said the year "is the time to tell the co-operative story to a wider audience. Co-operatives are a key part of the way forward for the 21st Century economy.”
The statement describes the role of co-operatives in the global economy, stating that the 300 top co-operative companies have a combined annual turnover of USD 1.6 trillion and that they provide over 100 million jobs worldwide.
In Kenya, co-operatives contribute 45 percent of GDP and in the US 30,000 co-ops employ two million people. “Co-operatives are values-based enterprises. The co-operative has the greatest degree of participatory governance of any of the major enterprise models. Because of this member engagement, co-operatives reflect the values of the community,” Mr Gould said.
The statement continued by saying that co-operatives cover every sector from agriculture and fisheries to banking and credit unions, “they are building a better world,” Mr Gould added.
• To find out more about the International Day; and to share your co-operative stories, visit the special campaign page for more information.
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