Press release

2012: International Year of Co-operatives

Co-operativesUK has welcomed the decision by the United Nations to proclaim 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives at its General Assembly.

The Assembly, held on 18 December in New York, approved the resolution (A/RES/64/136) and recognised the co-operative business model as a major factor in the economic and social development of people in both the developed and developing world.

Celebrating the resolution, Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operativesUK, said: 'This is fantastic news which will help to raise awareness of the incredible role that co-operatives play on the world stage.

'What we do has a real impact on over 800 million international members on a daily basis, so it is tremendous that the UN has recognised co-operatives as an important factor in improving the lives of people worldwide. We welcome the UN's decision and are glad the valuable work of our movement has been given the prominence it deserves.'

The resolution also encourages all governments to create a more supportive environment for co-operative development. In particular, there is a need for governments to provide more financial aid to support the formation of new co-operatives.

Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), expressed her support for the UN's resolution on behalf of the entire international co-operative community: 'The International Year of Co-operatives is a well timed event that represents the depth of understanding of the entire co-operative movement.'

'The co-operative model is a better choice and offers the basis for a more sustainable way to do business when compared to traditional capitalist models now under scrutiny. What sets this model apart from others is that all co-operatives, whether they are small farmers or large consumer-owned entities, share the values of democracy, solidarity, equality, self-help and self responsibility, creating businesses that serve the greater good as opposed to maximising profit for the very few.'

In the run up to and during 2012, the ICA will hold a series of events highlighting the importance of co-operatives and its businesses, and will work closely with the UN and its agencies to ensure the co-operative model is placed at the top of the international social calendar.