The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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UN Praises Role of Cooperatives in Sustainable Development

 

United Nations officials are highlighting the role cooperative enterprises can play in economic development, social justice and environmental protection.

In his message for International Day of Cooperatives, marked annually on 5 July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that this year’s Day falls at a “critical time” with the UN working to reach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and adopt a long-range sustainable development agenda, as well as a new climate agreement.
“Cooperatives are particularly important to agriculture, food security and rural development. In the finance sector, cooperatives serve more than 857 million people, including tens of millions who live in poverty,” Mr. Ban said.
Ranging from small-scale to multi-million dollar businesses across the globe, cooperatives operate in all sectors of the economy, and provide 100 million jobs worldwide – 20 per cent more than multinational enterprises, according to 2011 figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
In 2008, the largest 300 cooperatives in the world had an aggregate turnover of $1.1 trillion, comparable to the gross domestic product (GDP) of many large economies, the UN agencies said.


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“America Can Be Too Proud”

In keeping with today’s theme, here’s an article by Carole Motsinger about the Asheville based non-profit Global International that is focused on investing in long-term customized solutions created by local communities. Christopher Sacco, the co-founder and director of Groundswell International, who lived in Ecuador for eight years notes,  “One thing that I realize after this latest financial crisis is that we have a lot to learn from developing countries.”

I’m proud to be an American. That said, America can be too proud.
Our country has a tendency to not look outside the borders for wisdom and solutions — sometimes I feel the only time we do look at developing countries is to look down on them.
Christopher Sacco, the co-founder and director of Groundswell International, an Asheville-based global nonprofit focused on strengthening community organizations and training leaders, knows firsthand how much the United States can learn from other parts of the world. And he’s inviting Asheville to access this global classroom, so to speak, through free, facilitated discussion at UNC Asheville on solutions to major issues impacting the global food and agriculture system.
“The majority of our Groundswell partners are international organizations and people,” he said, noting he lived in Ecuador for about eight years. “One thing that I realize after this latest financial crisis is that we have a lot to learn from developing countries.” Continue reading