NCGA Takes Part in UN Launch of International Year of Cooperatives

Oct 25, 2011

The United Nations (UN) has declared 2012 the “International Year of Cooperatives,” and National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) and its 122 member and associate food co-ops are joining other cooperatives in marking the occasion.

The United Nations General Assembly will officially launch the International Year of Cooperatives at the UN General Assembly Hall on Monday, Oct. 31 in New York. Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA, will be among the co-op executives attending the proceedings.

To celebrate International Year of Cooperatives, the UN will hold a series of events throughout the day:

  • In the morning, an informal round-table discussion addressing the theme, “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World: Contributions to Sustainable Development,” will be held.
  • In the afternoon, Ban Ki-moon (South Korea), the United Nations Secretary-General, and Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (Qatar), the President of the General Assembly, will officially launch the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), during the General Assembly Plenary Session.
  • Cooperatives, civil society organizations, Member States and UN system organizations are also organizing side-events to commemorate the occasion and to highlight the diverse role of cooperatives in development.

The launch aims to increase public awareness about cooperatives and to promote the formation and growth of cooperatives worldwide. Members of the United Nations, observers, organizations of the United Nations system, Cooperatives and Non-Governmental Organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council are invited to participate in the IYC launch.

The Global Launch of the International Year of Cooperatives was mandated by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 65/184. 

“The United Nations’ declaration provides a platform and momentum for co-ops to tell their stories on a local and global level,” said Shrader. “We are eager to share the many benefits cooperative grocers bring to their communities. This is a great opportunity to connect with each other, celebrate the dedication of our existing shoppers and owners, and help more people across the country discover that food co-ops are about fresh, delicious foods and so much more.”

NCGA is planning a variety of activities throughout the year, including an online video series hosted by Kevin Gillespie, co-owner and executive chef at the Woodfire Grill Restaurant in Atlanta and season six finalist of the Bravo TV series, “Top Chef.” Gillespie will journey through farm fields and grocery aisles showing the unique role co-ops have in building local food systems and their impact in their communities. These videos will be made available for viewing throughout the year, beginning with a virtual premiere on January, 21, 2012 at 8 p.m. EST,

NCGA’s member and associate food co-ops will also host a variety of special events and activities to promote co-ops’ importance to local and global communities.

“The International Year of Cooperatives calls attention to the transformational role co-ops play in our economy and our lives,” Shrader concluded. “We’re always incredibly proud to be a part of the cooperative community; even more so at this historic moment.”

For more information about the International Year of Cooperatives, visit