Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman promotes co-ops at UN in New York

On July 8 Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman led an event celebrating International Day of Co-operatives at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The event, designed to influence UN ambassadors and representatives, promoted co-operatives as a business model that is well-suited to deliver sustainable development.

"Many of the challenges we're facing globally derive from a business model that puts financial return ahead of human need," says Tamara. "The co-operative model is people-centred, values-driven and puts economic resources under democratic control, making it uniquely suited to achieving sustainable development."

Watch the webcast:

Organized by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Co-operatives (COPAC, which includes the International Co-operative Alliance), the event took place during the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, an annual event focused on engaging the interest of world leaders in keeping sustainable development high on their national agendas.

The UN is currently negotiating a Post-2015 Development Agenda that will result in Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030) to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which come to an end this year. The new goals include ending poverty, providing decent jobs, ensuring food security and fighting climate change. In this context, COPAC is advocating that the UN include language in the development agenda about the co-operative model as a distinct and differentiated way to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

Tamara, representing the International Co-operative Alliance, led the event and was supported by representatives from the other COPAC member organizations:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • International Labour Organization
  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  • World Farmers Organisation.

The event also included presentations about the contributions of the Kenyan co-operative movement to sustainable development, and gender equality and women's empowerment in co-operatives.


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