(Excerpts from Executive Summary)
NEW YORK, 21 December 2010 (Department of Economic and Social Affairs) -- The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives, highlighting the contribution of co-operatives to socio-economic development. In adopting resolution 64/136 on 18 December, the Assembly noted that co-operatives impact poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.
A co-operative is an autonomous voluntary association of people who unite to meet common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations, through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. In general, they contribute to socio-economic development.
As self-help organizations that meet the needs of their members, co-operatives assist in generating employment and incomes throughout local communities. Co-operatives provide opportunities for social inclusion. In the informal economy, workers have formed shared service co-operatives and associations to assist in their self-employment.
The co-operative sector worldwide has about 800 million members in over 100 countries, and is estimated to account for more than 100 million jobs around the world.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
"Recognizing that co-operatives, in their various forms, promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people, including women, youth, older people, people with disabilities and indigenous peoples, are becoming a major factor of economic and social development and contribute to the eradication of poverty."