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By being sources of decent work, spaces for democracy and peace building, and an economic force (the top 300 cooperatives alone generate 2.5 trillion USD in annual turnover, more than the GDP of France), co-operatives are truly a partner in transforming our world. 


How exactly are these people-centred, values-based enterprises helping to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity? How are they reaching those most at risk for being left behind? And what can governments, civil society, and the UN system do better to support co-operatives in their mission to build a better world? 


To answer these questions and share co-operative solutions for inclusive development, the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) hosted an event on 14th July to celebrate    the International Day of Cooperatives at the United Nations in New York during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.   The event featured speakers from COPAC’s membership, invited co-operators, and a few Permanent Representatives to the UN. The participants were invited to engage in an interactive discussion with the speakers and to enjoy the debut of COPAC’s video ‘Co-operatives Ensure No One is Left Behind’.  Among the panellists were, Mr. Hiromi Katsumata, Senior Managing Director of the Japan-Cooperative General Research Institute and Dr. Nandini Azad, President Indian Co-operative Network for Women and officiating Chairperson of ICA-AP’s Women’s Committee.


His Excellency Hiroshi Minami, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, said that ‘cooperatives are one of the best-kept secrets in the SDG toolbox’, and shared the wide reach and impact of the cooperative movement in Japan, in the region, and worldwide. He lauded the cooperative movement for its willingness to partner to achieve the SDGs.


Mr. Hiromi Katsumata and Dr. Nandini Azad, panelists at the COPAC HLPF side event.   


Mr. Hiromi Katsumata spoke about the work of Japanese co-operatives in relation SDGs 1, 2, 3, 14, 15, and 17. He described how cooperatives from all sectors in Japan collaborate to better serve their members and to promote prosperity in their communities.  He highlighted the importance of cooperatives in providing safe food, addressing the growing gap between rich and poor, and caring for a rapidly aging population. Dr. Nandini Azad in her remarks mentioned that SDGs and women (in regard to co-operatives) were an absolute breakthrough where investing in women and gender equality is seen at the core for growth, peace, prosperity and poverty reduction. She said that the meeting on co-operatives at the HLPF showed that co-operatives were an ideal mechanism for women as they focused on democracy, participation as well as the socio-economic features. She spoke in detail about the gender equality model in place by the Working Women Forum and the Indian Co-operative Women Network.


The event was also attended by delegations from India and Japan. The Indian delegation was headed by Dr. Chandra Pal Singh Yadav, President NCUI. The Japanese delegation consisted of members from the Japan Joint Committee of Co-operatives (JJC), a national committee consisting of the 16 ICA members. Full video of the event can be found at: