A new report from the United Nations Secretary-General highlights the potential of cooperatives to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals—17 objectives meant to end extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030 and advance a central pledge of leaving no one behind.
“Cooperative enterprises are in a unique position to help promote the 2030 Agenda. They are natural vehicles to deliver the collaborative partnership and the people-centered and integrated approach required to attain the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” the report states.
The report also recognizes that “cooperatives have a long-term perspective on investment in the community, which holds them accountable for the community assets and commits them to sustainability and social responsibility.”
The report includes proposed strategies for strengthening cooperatives, given the key challenges that they face in their pursuit of sustainable development for all. These include:
- increasing the awareness of the role that cooperatives have in achieving the SDGs;
- generating consistent data on cooperatives to support evidence-based research, especially with regard to the SDGs;
- establishing effective policies, laws and regulations, and
- building the capacity of cooperatives to participate in sustainable development processes at the national, regional and international levels.
The report concludes with policy recommendations for the further advancement of cooperatives, including that “governments should review existing legislation and regulations to make the national legal and regulatory environment more conducive to the creation and growth of cooperatives, by improving existing laws and regulations and/or by establishing new ones, especially with regard to access to capital, competitiveness and fair taxation.”