ILO Tokyo Office holds public seminar with Japanese cooperative organizations: cooperative activities and sustainable development goals

TOKYO, Sept. 8 – United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Japan co-organized a public seminar on September 7 at Nagata-cho in Tokyo with Japan Joint Committee of Cooperatives (JJC), an apex body of an organizational network of various cooperatives in Japan.

The seminar was held to learn about roles to be played by cooperatives in achieving “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” that were adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of the 2030 New Sustainable Development Agenda.

Simel Esim, Head of the Cooperatives Unit at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva, made a presentation on expected roles of cooperatives in realizing the SDGs by tackling challenges including eradication of poverty and hunger on the globe, emphasizing “Cooperatives have been playing significant roles through their activities particularly in the fields of economic, social and environmental aspects.”

The representative of ILO’s Cooperative Unit pointed out to some 140 participants, representing various cooperative organizations in the country, that agricultural cooperatives are making a special contribution not only to attainment of food security and nutrition improvement, but also to promotion of sustainable agricultural development.

Simel Esim also touched upon a challenge to be addressed by cooperative organizations in many countries that general people’s understanding on cooperatives has not been easily promoted mainly due to limited education for the public on values of cooperatives.

Jiro Ito, Director of Public Relations Division of Japan Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU), joined the seminar as a resource person and made a report on problems faced by the Japanese cooperative movement, saying “Businesses and activities of our cooperatives are SDGs themselves. But we ourselves have not yet realized that.”

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