2012 – International Year of Cooperatives
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.
Cooperatives are not just an economic phenomenon but also a philosophy. It is an entrepreneurial model which is based on values such as equality, solidarity and reciprocity – and democracy. According to Emmanuel Kamdem, an expert on cooperatives within the International Labour Organisation (ILO), it is: “a model which brings market logic together with social inclusion, making solidarity the focus of concern.”
The 2012 International Year of Cooperatives aims to promote the growth and development of this model which in today’s volatile economic climate is attracting increasing interest from economists and entrepreneurs around the world. Today cooperatives comprise more than one billion members around the world and employ more than 100 million people.
The Year of Cooperatives will also raise awareness of the founding principles on which Cooperatives are built. These principles can tend to be neglected when cooperatives become too big, says Kamdem, and the cooperatives’ responsibility of training and education be forgotten.
Many to Many – October 2012, www.peacethroughunity.info/manytomany_current.html
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