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UN International Year of Cooperatives

14 December 2011
The United Nations has declared 2012 to be the International Year of Cooperatives. The UN recognises the prominent role cooperative enterprises play in economic development in a social context. Cooperatives are set up to promote the continuity and interests of their own members without losing sight of other stakeholders. It is a very modern and responsible way of doing business.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the contribution made by cooperatives to sustainable economic growth, especially in countries with developing economies. This form of business proved its value in the Netherlands and other European countries in the 20th century: the growth of the agriculture industry would be barely conceivable without cooperatives. Other industries are now also showing an interest in this exceptional way of working together. Ruud Galle, managing director of the Netherlands National Cooperative Council for Agriculture and Horticulture, said: 'This is a noble ambition because it shows there can also be a "cooperative answer" to the daunting problems facing our society: the economic crisis and sustainability.'

The theme for the International Year of Cooperatives is, 'Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World'.