Skip to main content

United Nations declares 2025 the International Year of Co-operatives

News item

Published
9th July 2024
Last updated
12th July 2024
Topic
Event
Image
A photograph of the United Nations logo at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Photo by Bernd 📷 Dittrich on Unsplash.

Following on from the new UK government's pledge to double the size of the co-operative sector, the United Nations is holding a soft-launch event at its New York headquarters to declare 2025 as the International Year of Co-operatives.

Co-operatives are celebrating a series of landmark developments that position the co-operative movement for unprecedented growth and influence. With Labour’s general election victory and their manifesto commitment to double the size of the co-operative and mutual economy, alongside the United Nations’ declaration of 2025 as the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC2025), we are entering a transformative period for co-operatives both nationally and internationally.

Co-operatives UK CEO, Rose Marley, will be delivering an address at the prestigious soft-launch event, taking place at the United Nations headquarters in New York today (Tuesday, 9 July). Influential leaders from the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and prominent co-operative organisations worldwide will be in attendance. The launch will be streamed live for a global audience from 3pm (GMT) today.

Remote video URL

Watch in full the launch from the United Nations' New York HQ

The soft-launch event can be rewatched via UN TV
Quote mark
This is a historic moment for co-operatives. With the backing of the new UK government committed to expanding our sector, and international recognition from the UN, we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the power and potential of co-operatives and the benefits member-owned business bring to society.
– Rose Marley, CEO, Co-operatives UK

Rose said: “Labour’s pledge to double the size of the co-operative and mutual economy in their manifesto signals a huge commitment to community-focused, democratically governed businesses that share power and wealth. In addition, I am honoured to be attending the United Nations this week to support the soft launch of the 2025 International Year of Co-operatives.”

The UN International Year of Co-operatives 2025 will give global recognition of the vital role co-operatives play in creating sustainable, inclusive and resilient economies through the theme ‘Co-operatives build a better world’. The UN is calling on member states to leverage the opportunity to make co-operatives better known globally. It’s also an important way to showcase how co-operatives globally contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and broader social and economic development.

In the UK, co-operatives will collaborate to support and promote the International Year of Co-operatives through events, campaigns and promotion. The year will be officially launched by the International Co-operative Alliance at its General Assembly in New Delhi in November.

Quote mark
The Rochdale Pioneers laid the foundation for a movement that has grown to over a billion members worldwide. As we celebrate 180 years since their visionary work, we are reminded of the timeless values of equality, equity, and solidarity that underpin the co-operative movement.
– Rose Marley, CEO, Co-operatives UK

A co-operative is an organisation owned and run by its members. The members, who could be workers, customers or suppliers, enjoy an equal say in how the business is run and share profits fairly. A co-operative exists to benefit its members and the wider community, rather than simply to make profits for external shareholders. It is 180 years since the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers – recognised as the world's first successful consumer retail co-operative - came into existence. The society's founding principles of 1844 became the blueprint for modern co-operatives around the world.

Rose Marley said: “The Rochdale Pioneers laid the foundation for a movement that has grown to over a billion members worldwide. As we celebrate 180 years since their visionary work, we are reminded of the timeless values of equality, equity, and solidarity that underpin the co-operative movement. These values are more relevant today than ever as we face global challenges that require collective action and innovative solutions.”

Co-operatives UK and its members and partners, including the Building Societies Association (BSA), ABCUL and the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM, have a shared vision on co-operative and mutual growth that will deliver positive change in communities across the UK

Rose added: “We’ve a united sector and are determined to work in partnership with government to put co-operatives and mutuals at the heart of economic strategy. This is our moment to shine; to offer hope and solutions. We are ready to seize it.”

Keep up to date on International Year of Co-operatives celebrations

Sign up to our mailing list for the latest co-operative news, advice and campaigns.
Related content