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.
In the financial sector, cooperatives serve more than 857 million people, including tens of millions of people who live in poverty. Since the 2007-2008 global financial and economic crisis, financial cooperatives have proven their strength and value. They have maintained good credit ratings, increased their assets and turnover, and experienced growth in membership and customer base.
With their offer of economic, social and environmental resilience, the potential contribution of cooperatives to sustainable development is clear. This year, we celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives under the theme: “Cooperatives: The power to act for a sustainable future”. We believe cooperatives can make significant contributions to the SDGs on employment, poverty, hunger, and equality.
On this International Day of Cooperatives, I urge Governments to create an enabling environment for cooperatives to thrive and grow. Let us harness the power of cooperatives to achieve the SDGs and create a world of dignity and opportunity for all.