Cooperatives, based on the principles of self-help and reciprocity, have the potential to help address the global economic crisis, especially among the world's most vulnerable, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
Cooperatives' economic model is not based on charity, he said, noting that in countries affected by the turmoil, cooperative banks and credit unions have expanded lending when other financial institutions have scaled back.
“This highlights the importance of strong alternative business models and institutional diversity for the resilience of the financial system,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the International Day of Cooperatives, whose theme this year is “Driving Global Recovery Through Cooperatives.”
With communities worldwide rediscovering the need to work together to overcome the crisis, he stressed that cooperatives deserve greater support from governments, which can adopt policies to boost the setting up of cooperatives, and consumers, who can buy food produced by small-holder cooperatives traded in fair markets.
In 1992, the General Assembly proclaimed the first Saturday of every July to be the International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the International Cooperative Alliance, which united and represents cooperatives around the world.