ILO presents on women’s cooperatives at a side event during the 60th session of the UN Committee on Social Development (CSD)

ILO COOP Manager provided a keynote message at a side event on February 11, 2022.

Actualité | 28 février 2022
The 60th session of the UN Commission for Social Development (UNCSocD60), the advisory body responsible for the social development pillar of global development, took place largely online from 7 to 16 February 2022 at the UN Headquarters in New York. The UNCSocD60th side event on ‘Women cooperative warriors combat COVID-19 with sustainable gender and equity strategies: iconic case of Working Women’s Forum (India) and the Indian Cooperative Network for Women’ took place on February 11, 2022.

The side event, among 42 others that were scheduled through the 13 days of the UNCSocD60, was organized by the Working Women’s Forum India (WWFI) and the Indian Cooperative Network for Women (ICNW). WWFI established the Indian Cooperative Network for Women (ICNW), the first women cooperative in South India, in 1981 serving six million poor women workers. Ms Nandini Azad President of the WWFI and ICNW and a global board member of the International Raiffeisen Union made the welcome address at the side event. She highlighted the conditions of women rural and informal economy workers during COVID-19. She underlined the role that their cooperatives played in addressing the constraints they faced in this time of crisis.

Ms Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs delivered the inaugural address at the side event. The Division is responsible for the work of the Department on cooperatives. Most recently it was responsible for producing the reports of the Secretary-General on Cooperatives in Social Development, including the most recent one in 2021.

ILO COOP Unit Manager Ms Simel Esim delivered the keynote address at the side event. Highlighting the quadruple crisis of public health, livelihood, care, and violence, she reflected on the role women-owned cooperatives have played during the COVID-19 pandemic in protecting the lives and livelihoods in their communities.

Ms Esim highlighted some lessons learned from women’s cooperatives initiatives during the pandemic that can help inform policy, design and implementation of programmes with women’s active participation. Given that women’s cooperatives have played an active role in mitigating the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, they must be involved in current and future efforts to respond to disasters and pandemics. She noted that a conducive environment for women’s cooperatives can help incubate and accompany cooperatives to self-sufficiency during normal times and build their resilience for crisis times.

Her presentation was followed by three speakers from cooperative organizations. Mr Andreas Kappes, International Raifessen Union Secretary General and Head of the Department of International Affairs at DGRV, Ms Chitose Arai, Chairperson of the ICA Asia Pacific Women’s Committee and the Vice President of the Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union and Ms Arianna Giuliodori, Secretary General at World Farmers' Organisation. The session concluded with questions and answers from the participants.

You can find the recording for this side event here.