ILO participates in an observance of the International Day of Cooperatives at the United Nations, New York

The Director ILO Office for the UN Director presented the relevance of cooperatives in promoting decent work and sustainable development at an observance of the 2018 International Day of Cooperatives held at UN Headquarters in New York.

News | 09 July 2018
Participants at the IDC, New York
On 5 July 2018, the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), which is currently chaired by the ILO, and the Permanent Mission of Argentina co-organized an observance of the 2018 International Day of Cooperatives (IDC) at the United Nations in New York with co-operators, UN officials and government representatives. The event discussed how cooperatives can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12, 15 and 17 which will be reviewed at the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The meeting also provided an opportunity to explore ways in which the UN organizations and government agencies can further engage with cooperatives toward achieving the SDGs.

Mr Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro, Director of ILO Office for the UN
Mr Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro, Director of the ILO Office for the UN represented the ILO as Chair of COPAC and provided opening remarks along with Mr Alejandro Verdier, Deputy Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN and Ms Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Mr Pinheiro shared with participants how cooperatives can contribute to SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth and SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, citing examples from the food and ready-made garment supply chains.

Following the opening remarks, a panel of speakers provided examples of how cooperatives contribute towards the SDGs including the case of Saladillo Mill in Argentina, a worker cooperative established when the former workers of a bankrupt mill bought the enterprise and turned it into a cooperative to save their jobs; Coop Italia, Italy’s largest retailer in greening its own product lines, engaging in responsible sourcing and raising awareness among consumer members on sustainable consumption and production; and the National Cooperative Business Association Cooperative League of the USA (NCBA CLUSA), building resilient communities and promoting economic opportunities through strengthening cooperatives and other producer organizations in 20 countries.

During the following discussion, participants shared their experiences and observations on:
  • The role of cooperatives in post-conflict situations in mobilizing local resources and establishing sustainable and inclusive communities;
  • The needs for education and capacity building on cooperatives particularly for young people; and
  • The importance of data collection to demonstrate cooperatives’ contribution to sustainable development.

Ms Wenyan Yang, Chief of the Global Dialogue for Social Development Branch at UN DESA shared the COPAC initiative on developing guidelines on statistics of cooperatives to be presented at the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians in October 2018 towards improving the quality and accessibility of data on cooperatives.

Mr Sukhbold Sukhee, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the UN, emphasized the role of governments in creating enabling legal frameworks for cooperatives, to tap into the full potential of cooperatives for sustainable development.