By Faranak Bakhtiari

Cooperatives build a better world

July 1, 2022 - 18:12

TEHRAN – The International Day of Cooperatives has been celebrated worldwide since 1923 as the unique contribution of cooperatives is making the world a better place.

The 100th International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated on the first Saturday of July. A decade on from the UN International Year of Cooperatives, which showcased the unique contribution of cooperatives to making the world a better place, this year’s slogan – “Cooperatives Build a Better World”– echoes the theme of the International Year.

Some 97,000 cooperatives are active across the country, creating more than 1.8 million direct jobs. The aim is to increase awareness of cooperatives and promote the movement’s ideas of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace. Since 1995, the ICA and the United Nations through the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) have jointly set the theme for the celebration.

Operating all around the world, in many different sectors of the economy, cooperatives have proven themselves more resilient to crises than the average. They foster economic participation, fight against environmental degradation and climate change, generate good jobs, contribute to food security, keep financial capital within local communities, build ethical value chains, and, by improving people’s material conditions and security, contribute to positive peace.

Some 97,000 cooperatives are active across the country, creating more than 1.8 million direct jobs, former minister of cooperatives, labor, and social welfare, Mohammad Shariatmadari, said in June 2021.

“Development of creativity and innovation system in cooperative businesses through the establishment of innovation centers and development of cooperatives, forming cooperative think tanks as facilitators between members of the country's cooperative sector, and also paving the way for the transformation of ideas into products are among the new functions of cooperatives.

Supporting the activities of emerging knowledge-based cooperatives and developing new types of cooperatives are the other measures taken,” he further explained.

Cooperatives have been acknowledged as associations and enterprises through which citizens can effectively improve their lives while contributing to the economic, social, cultural, and political advancement of their community and nation.

Cooperatives also foster external equality. As they are community-based, they are committed to the sustainable development of their communities - environmentally, socially, and economically. This commitment can be seen in their support for community activities, local sourcing of supplies to benefit the local economy, and decision-making that considers the impact on their communities.

Despite their local community focus, co-operatives also aspire to bring the benefits of their economic and social model to all people in the world.

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