2012, The International Year of Cooperatives

The year 2012 has been declared by the UN as International Year of Cooperatives. Many cooperative businesses, credit unions and farmer co-operatives are rejoicing for being in spotlight because of this decision of UN.

UN’s Theme for IYC

It is since 1959 that the UN is designating International Years to evoke international alertness and action. UN’s theme for International Year of Cooperatives is ‘Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World’. It recognizes the role of cooperative businesses and organizations in socio-economic progress, by lowering poverty level, creating job opportunities, and encouraging social integration. It also highlights the power of cooperative organizations in being successful models of excellent alternatives for doing business, and promoting socioeconomic progress further, because they are defined by purposeful membership, profit sharing and democratic power.

UN is utilizing social media to connect cooperatives from all over the world, motivating members to share photographs and videos to be shared on a special page of IYC Picasa and YouTube channel. Co-operative organizations have also been asked to partake in the IYC public awareness campaign by sharing photographs, videos, news and informational material to educate the global population about social and economic advantages of member-owned cooperative businesses.

International Co-operative Alliance

Nowadays co-ops are present in literally every section of the economy, as per the International Co-operative Alliance. ICA is a non-governmental organization which calls itself to be ‘the global voice for cooperatives’. The ICA has classified the co-ops in eight main categories, viz. agriculture, consumer, banking and credit, health, fisheries, housing, services and industry, and insurance. ICA boasts of having 249 member organizations from 94 countries, and includes other sorts of co-ops too, like those associated with education, tourism and utilities.

The IYC has three major objectives:

Increase Alertness To increase alertness among public regarding co-operatives and their share in socio-economic growth and the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals.

Evoke Growth To evoke creation and growth of cooperatives among people and organizations to consider common financial requirements and for socio-economic independence.

Establish Apt Strategies To insist Governments and authoritative bodies to establish strategies, rules and regulations favorable to cooperative creation and growth.

Thus this year 2012 will help to inspire support and growth for cooperative organizations by individuals and their groups by evoking awareness about cooperatives.

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