ICA position paper: Cooperatives as key partners in realizing the Agenda 2030

08 Nov 2023

In September 2023, the international community marked the mid-point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The UN hosted the SDG Summit which culminated to Member States adopting a political declaration with a call to action to reverse the declines and accelerate the progress to achieve the 2030 Agenda and implement the SDGs.

Cooperatives contributed to the process that defined the content of the Agenda 2030, resulting in acknowledgment of the significant role of cooperatives in achieving sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the very core of cooperative enterprises as the cooperative business model is based on ethical values and principles whose goal is to provide for the needs and aspirations of its members and the community.

The ICA position paper stresses the effective role of cooperatives as partners in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 by identifying concrete and tested cooperatives’ contributions to the 17 SDGs. In addition, it calls for a robust and a conducive policy and regulatory environment to unleash the full potential of cooperatives as drivers of sustainable development. In this regard, it proposes the following measures:

  • Recognition that cooperative enterprises are a well-suited model of business to deliver Sustainable Development Goals; the generation and equitable distribution of wealth, the creation and maintenance of sustainable enterprises and jobs at the local level and the concern for the surrounding community are specific characteristics of cooperatives that makes them well suited to deliver these goals.
  • Inclusion of specific targets and indicators related to the promotion and development of cooperatives in member countries, in accordance with the definition, values and principles referred above; these targets should be associated with a concept of growth that includes targets associated with social and environmental indicators.
  • Access to specific implementation measures and programs including funding; these programs and measures should be adapted to the specific characteristics of cooperatives and respect their specific business model. As the UN Member States have committed to increase financing for data and statistics, as well as scale up financing for sustainable development and enhancing capacity building , cooperatives should be given access to these funding opportunities as recommended in the 2021 UN resolution on cooperatives in social development.
  • Participation of cooperative structures in the discussions and decision-making processes regarding the Sustainable Development Goals such as the voluntary national reviews and the UN high-level political forum. The decision-making process should be made in full compliance with participatory principles. Moreover, the identification of specific measures and programs should ensure the involvement of local business, their representative organizations and civil society. Programs should be designed through local consultation processes and preceded by in-depth assessment studies of the local context.

Find the position paper attached below.