On this International Day of Cooperatives, we celebrate how cooperatives build a better world by advancing sustainable development, social integration and decent work.
Cooperatives empower their members and strengthen communities. They promote food security and enhance opportunities for small agricultural producers. They are better tuned to local needs and better positioned to serve as engines of local growth. By pooling resources, they improve access to information, finance and technology. And their underlying values of self-help, equality and solidarity offer a compass in challenging economic times.
Cooperatives are also critical in supporting indigenous communities, and in offering productive employment opportunities for women, youth, persons with disabilities, older persons and others who face discrimination and marginalization.
The global financial and economic crisis has also demonstrated the resilience of alternative financial institutions such as cooperative banks and credit unions.
In this International Year of Cooperatives, I encourage all stakeholders to continue building awareness and pursuing policies to strengthen cooperatives everywhere. By contributing to human dignity and global solidarity, cooperatives truly do build a better world.
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* International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July.