Cooperative enterprises remain strong in times of crisis

Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA))

Speakers: Daniela Bas (Director of Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) ); Kevin Cassidy ( International Labor Organization); Ambassador Och (Permanent representative of Mongolia to the United Nations); Betsy Dribben ( Director of International Co-operative Alliance); Javier Molina Cruz (Liaison Officer of Food and Agricultural Organization); Elizabeth Phlippe ( UN Federal Credit Union)

Attended by: Janice H.W. Wong, Norah Crossnohere, Alyssa Strasser, Greg Swistel, Marli Kasdan

Written by Janice H.W. Wong

Sustainable development has been a hot topic being debated in the UN recently. The traditional form of business experienced huge challenges during the recent financial, food, environmental crises; “Cooperative” as a better alternative business model is being studied – it unites members of a neighbourhood to each contribute individual efforts to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs.

Characteristics of a cooperative:

  1. It is community based. It adopts people-centered business practices, this is different from traditional form of businesses that is profit-oriented.
  2. Each member has one vote only under all circumstances, they have a voice about the business operations, and the membership cannot be transferred like shares.

 Role of cooperatives to be played:

  1. Build a resilient society in times of financial, food, environmental ,social, development crises.
  2. By involving members in production and business activities, it leads to social and economic empowerment of people, who are often marginalised and excluded, in the environment. This is crucial for sustainable development.
  3. Promote social dialogue, allow the voice of all individuals to be heard

 Examples and types of Cooperatives being mentioned in the meeting:

  • Financial cooperatives- such as credit unions, they remain strong during financial crisis
  • Agricultural cooperatives help ensure food security and increase productivity

1. Warehouse receipt system – A storage facility for farmers, where the produces can act as a collateral to obtain credit and can be sold at times when price is higher

2. Natural resource management (Giving land ownership to people, thus providing the people a way to make a living and an incentive for them to protect the neighbourhood)

3. Crop Agricultural Insurance

  • Social Cooperatives – it performs its function in face of declining public welfare

Edited By; Wayne Dean Doyle

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