Can cooperatives help achieve sustainability and peace in the world? We think so! The United Nations is no stranger to cooperatives. 2012 was declared the International Year of Cooperatives, and the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon noted that co-ops “are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.”

CDI Executive Director Noemi Giszpenc was invited to present at the U.N. in New York as part of a panel on the “Sustainable Development Goals” and how to engage citizen participation in implementing them. The basic point of the Sustainable Development Goals is that all people should be able to live their lives in dignity, peace and freedom to be able to reach their potential. Noemi suggested that in order to get to freedom and autonomy, we should use cooperatives, that emphasize people’s self-determination and self-responsibility. For example, when residents take ownership of their communities, they immediately invest in improved water and sewerage infrastructure. And when workers take ownership of their businesses, they invest in health benefits and education. If groups receive financing as well as assistance from organizations such as CDI, which emphasize that everyone needs to take responsibility for making their cooperative business work, countries could make significant progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“I was excited to present alongside very capable players who are dedicated to raising awareness and capacity of citizens to act and preserve a sustainable environment for their own development,” Noemi said of her experience. “The role of cooperatives in that landscape, as a mechanism for joint action, shared responsibility, and mutual benefit, needs to be appreciated. At CDI, we know they work and that together we can help people make a difference in their lives.”

Her message resonated with the Ambassador Chowdhury, as well as the other panelists, and the entire audience. See a slideshow of the event below!


CDI to the United Nations: Sustainable Development through Cooperative Development
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