United Nations Secretary-General

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES
2 July 2016

Cooperative endeavour is about empowerment, inclusion and sustainability. It is designed to uphold the principles of equality and democratic participation. It embodies the principle of the Sustainable Development Goals that no-one should be left behind.

Cooperatives play an important role in many societies. The United Nations estimates that one person in every six is either a member or a client of a cooperative. Worldwide, some 2.6 million cooperatives employ 12.6 million people. Their assets are worth about US$20 trillion and they generate about US$3 trillion in annual revenue.

Like the SDGs themselves, cooperatives are people-centred. Owned and run by their members, cooperatives are strongly committed to the communities they serve. Agricultural cooperatives help to improve the productivity of small producers by facilitating access to markets, credit, insurance and technology. Social cooperatives can provide an important safety net in the face of declining or minimal public welfare.