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Key concepts on Social Economy

International Year of Cooperatives - Recma No. 323

The United Nations (UN) and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) has declared 2012 "International Year of Cooperatives." The UN is responsible for the overall design of the year, CREA sets out the priorities for international cooperative movement in 2012. The International Year of Cooperatives was launched Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at the general meeting of the AIT, in Cancun (Mexico). A slogan has been adopted: "Co-operatives, companies for a better world."

The ACI, independent, non-governmental unites, represents and serves cooperatives worldwide. Founded in 1895, it has 265 members in 96 countries and in all sectors of the economy. The 776 000 cooperatives that it combines together nearly a billion people. The cooperative movement is present in almost all sectors of the economy: banking, agriculture, energy, industry, insurance, fisheries, housing, health, tourism, consumer ... The cooperatives, however, are stronger in some sectors, like agriculture in the South and the banking and insurance services in the North. Agriculture, fishing, small industry, handicrafts and habitat constitute the common base in North and South (1).
From the post-World War II, the UN granted the ACI institutional recognition by giving it the status of the UN advisory body. In fact, cooperative action within the international public bodies is important since the founding of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1919. Albert Thomas, cooperative activist and prominent member of the AIT, became the first director of the ILO. The action of the service cooperatives ILO reflects the closeness between the values of the AIT and those of the ILO and the UN. In 1966, the ILO recommendation 127 voted on the role of co operatives in developing countries, highlighting the specific role of cooperatives in the emancipation and development. Adopted by the ILO in June 2002, recommendation 193 broadens the perspective of previous and offers a new foundation working for governments, trade unions and employers' unions. Close since its founding in 1921, both the AIT and the Cooperative Branch of the ILO, actively participating in the research committee of the AIT, the Recma supports collective reflection on the role of cooperatives in development . Demonstrated, beyond articles and records published in the journal, the publication in January of the third book (2) on the cooperative movement in the collection "Books of the social economy" (L-Recma Harmattan), under the title The contributions of cooperatives to a plural economy, coordinated by Jerome White and Denis Colongo (575 pages, in French and English) and from the European Collaborative Research Symposium organized with the Research Committee of the ICA 2, 3 and 4 September 2010 in Lyon.
This is also the time to greet the culmination of a publishing project initiated in 1994 by André ... Chomel and the editorial board of the Recma: that of the Committee for the publication of works by Charles Gide. Under the scientific direction of Marc Pénin, benefiting from introductions and commentary of the best specialists of Gide, twelve books came off the presses. Charles Gide twenty-first century, led by Luc Marco, closes this remarkable collective work (3).
At the beginning of 2012, where the dominant economy continues to worsen economic inequities, social tensions and human drama, we express the hope that the International Year allows the cooperative movement to meet the growing expectations of the people of South and North.
Jean-Francois Draperi.