The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs jointly with UN Habitat co-hosted an expert group meeting and workshop to look at the experience of co-operatives in terms of sustainable development. The event took place at the UN’s headquarters in Kenya, Nairobi.
Participants in the discussion examined the role of co-operatives in sustainable development, assessing their contribution, the challenges they faced and strategies for the future.
While the international community is engaged in a process of formulating the Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 development agenda, UNDESA believes the implementation of these goals requires the input of all stakeholders, including co-operatives.
The expert group meeting and workshop was an opportunity to highlight that co-operatives bring a people-centred perspective to the social, economic and environmental sectors in a balanced manner.
The United Nations General Assembly, along with other UN agencies such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the International Labour Organization have recognised the contribution of co-operatives to sustainable development.
The workshop and expert group meeting sought to build on the experience gained in partnership between the UN and co-operatives.
The discussion also highlighted the need to create an enabling environment, including capacity building, a compatible policy or legislative framework and awareness-raising.
Co-operatives will be able to contribute to the UN’s post-2015 development agenda by sustaining development gains and setting new goals to eradicate poverty, reaching full employment with quality jobs, reducing inequality, and achieving more economic growth with equity, while protecting the natural environment.
Photo: women working in a cooperative for the manufacturing of argan fruits in Essaouira, Morocco, February 7, 2014 (c) Shutterstock