SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

As the world celebrates International Cooperative Day today, it is time to reiterate the commitment to increase awareness on cooperatives, as well as strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other supporting organizations including governments. .While the cooperative movement across the nation has been slowly and steadily gaining momentum, it is unfortunate that in Jammu and Kashmir no commendable progress seems to be visible in this sector. The cooperatives have become an inseparable component of the Indian society especially in the rural areas, with Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited) having become an inspiration for the whole world as it is the biggest cooperative in the world today. However it is an acknowledged fact that the fiscal health of countless cooperatives is in bad shape and the issues concerning cooperatives need to be addressed instantly. It is pertinent to mention here that International Co-operative Day is an annual celebration of the co-operative movement observed on the first Saturday in July since 1923 by the International Co-operative Alliance. In this regard the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed on December 16, 1992, in its resolution 47/90 “the first Saturday of July 1995 to be International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the establishment of the International Cooperative Alliance. Since 1995 the United Nations’ International Day of Co-operatives is also observed jointly alongside the International Co-operative Day. Co-operatives around the world celebrate the day in various fashions and each year the organising institutions agree on a theme for the celebrations. The 2018 theme is “Sustainable consumption and production” and this theme is aligned with that of the 2018 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF): “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. During the HLPF in July, UN Member States will be reviewing progress towards achieving the following Sustainable Development Goals namely clean water and sanitation; clean and affordable energy; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production and life on land. On this day there is a need to utilize almost two centuries’ experience of the Cooperative movement in building sustainable and resilient societies. Moreover the agricultural cooperatives need to intensify their efforts to maintain the longevity of the land where they grow crops through sustainable farming practices. At the same time the consumer cooperatives should pace up their campaign to support sustainable sourcing for their products and educate consumers about responsible consumption. Similarly every other cooperative needs to proactively participate in the movement be it the Housing cooperatives that help ensure safe dwellings;, the Utility cooperatives engaged in the transition to cleaner electricity and rural access to energy and water or the Worker and Social cooperatives that aim to provide goods and services in an efficient, planet-friendly way while creating long-term, sustainable jobs. It is a fact that cooperatives provide a space where all people, regardless of race, gender, culture, social background or economic circumstance, can meet their needs and build better communities. The role of cooperatives as self-help tool for people to create their own economic opportunities through the power of the collective endeavour and pull themselves out of poverty is quite evident. Given the unemployment problem faced by youth especially in the state of J&K, and the rich resources available in the state including the handicraft and tourism potential in all its three regions the Co-operative movement can be used as the best tool to benefit the youth and simultaneously addressing the unemployment. New sectors like floriculture, bee-keeping, fish-farming, mushroom cultivation and fruit processing can be conveniently taken on cooperative platform so that the educated youth of the State can earn their livelihood besides developing entrepreneurship skills. Since the state especially the valley where peace continues to delude, it is time for the youth of this state come forward and keeping in mind this year’s theme, join in groups to form cooperatives in the aforesaid trades realizing that the Co-operatives have a much larger scope and moving in the right direction the vibrant cooperative movement can undoubtedly bring peace and prosperity to the struggling state of J&K.