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International Day of Cooperatives 2024: Building a Better Future for All

On July 6, 2024, cooperatives worldwide will celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives under the theme “Cooperatives Building a Better Future for All.” This special day highlights the crucial role cooperatives play in creating a sustainable future and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2024 UN Summit of the Future

This year’s theme aligns with the upcoming UN Summit of the Future, which focuses on “Multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow.” Cooperatives will showcase their:

  • Current and historical contributions to sustainability
  • Efforts to implement the SDGs by 2030
  • High standards for inclusive and sustainable growth
  • Role as environmental stewards and climate change fighters

Cooperative Values in Action

Democratic Governance

Cooperatives set an example for peace and stability through their democratic structure. They bring people from diverse backgrounds together on equal terms, fostering understanding and respect.

Shared Ownership

The shared ownership model of cooperatives promotes economic equality and fair wealth distribution. This approach contrasts with traditional business models that often lead to wealth concentration.

Building Momentum

The 2024 celebration builds on recent achievements:

  1. The 2023 UN Secretary-General Report on Cooperatives in Social Development recognized cooperatives’ role in promoting economic and social development for all, including marginalized groups.
  2. The UN declared 2025 as the International Year of Cooperatives, providing further opportunities to showcase the cooperative model’s benefits.

Background: The Cooperative Movement

What Are Cooperatives?

Cooperatives are associations and enterprises through which citizens can:

  • Improve their lives
  • Contribute to their community’s advancement
  • Participate in national and international affairs

Key Principles

Open Membership

Cooperatives operate on an open membership model, which:

  • Provides access to wealth creation
  • Helps eliminate poverty
  • Allows equitable and democratic control of capital

People-Centered Approach

Unlike traditional businesses, cooperatives are:

  • People-centred, not capital-centred
  • Focused on fair wealth distribution
  • Committed to preventing excessive capital concentration

Community Focus

Cooperatives demonstrate their commitment to sustainable community development through:

  • Support for local activities
  • Sourcing supplies locally to benefit the local economy
  • Considering community impact in decision-making

Global Impact

While rooted in local communities, cooperatives aim to bring their economic and social benefits to people worldwide. They provide an alternative model of globalization based on:

  • Shared values
  • Reduced inequality
  • Sustainable practices

Cooperative Movement Characteristics

The cooperative movement is characterized by:

  1. Democratic structure: Members have an equal say in decision-making.
  2. Local autonomy: Each cooperative is independent and self-governing.
  3. International integration: Cooperatives work together across borders.
  4. Self-help and responsibility: Members rely on their own efforts to achieve goals.
  5. Holistic objectives: Cooperatives address economic, social, and environmental issues.

Cooperatives’ Role in Addressing Global Challenges

Cooperatives contribute to solving major global issues:

  • Poverty reduction: By creating economic opportunities for members
  • Employment: Providing productive jobs and income-generating activities
  • Social integration: Bringing people together and fostering community ties.

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