International Day of Cooperatives 2019

On the 05th of July 2019, the Cooperative Department under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture celebrated its 97th International Day of Cooperatives under the theme “Coops 4 Decent Work,” at the San Ignacio Welcome Center.

The aim of the celebration was to increase awareness of cooperatives. The day highlighted the complementary goals and objectives of the United Nations (UN) and the international cooperative movement in finding a resolution for the major problems addressed by the UN in strengthening and extending partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors.

This year’s theme is a fundamental mechanism for inclusion and social justice. Making decent work a reality for all is embedded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Considering today’s relatively high unemployment levels, particularly among the youth, increased job insecurity, and widening inequalities, the 2019 Coops Day theme is purposefully linked on “promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”

In Belize, there are currently 66 active cooperative enterprises. Fifty-seven (57) of them are registered cooperatives, three are in a status called pre-cooperative, and the remaining six are aspirants in the middle stages of development. By industrial sector, 30 are engaged in agriculture, 17 in transportation, and the remainder spread over fishing, arts & crafts, consumer, and tourism, among others. Total members consist of 2,800, with most of them being male ranking from ages 31 to 40 years.

Cooperatives, as people-centered enterprises and key development actors, have a strong role to play in creating decent jobs and empowering local communities both economically and socially.