Secretary-General's Message on the International Day of Cooperatives (4 July 2015)

The theme of this year’s observance of the International Day of Cooperatives -- “Choose cooperatives, choose equality” -- highlights the invaluable role of cooperatives in making the vision of a sustainable future a reality for everyone.

Inequality is a fundamental obstacle to development, depriving people of basic services and opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their children, The cooperative model helps meet this challenge. Cooperatives strive to uphold the principles of equality and democratic participation.  They are strongly committed to the communities they serve. This business model, built on inclusion and sustainability, offers a pathway toward economic, social and political justice for all.

Research has shown that cooperatives help to lower wage differences between men and women, and to promote greater equality in work and training opportunities. With an estimated one in every six people in the world either a member or client of a cooperative, and some 2.6 million cooperatives employing 12.6 million people, the potential contribution to sustainable development is enormous.

In this crucially important year in which the world will commit itself to an inspiring new development agenda, including a set of sustainable development goals, let us recommit to the cooperative business model and use its many benefits to  fulfil our vision of a life of dignity for all.