Role of cooperatives in poverty elimination

Role of cooperatives in eliminating poverty (UN Photo/Martine Perret)

“Cooperatives act as catalysts, not just for economic growth but also for social growth,” said Cynthia Giagnocavo, Research Fellow, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Almeria, and the main speaker of the panel discussion on “The Role of Cooperatives in Poverty Eradication” which took place yesterday in New York.

In line with the 50th session of the Commission for Social Development, this event is the first in a series of interactive panel discussions to be hosted by the coordinating committee of the International Year of Cooperatives 2012, aimed at raising awareness among national governments on the diverse strengths of cooperative enterprise, and encouraging dialogue between national governments and the cooperative sector.

The panel discussion was organized by UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development and was moderated by H.E. Mr. Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, Permanent Mission of Spain to the UN.

Almeria, an agricultural community located in what was once a historically impoverished area of Southern Spain, was the case-study for the panel discussion. With the establishment of cooperation and interaction between farmers, local agricultural cooperatives sprang up and cooperative banks were established, ushering in a process of development and transforming the poverty ridden area into a vibrant economy.

Ms. Giagnocavo discussed general observations in the networks of cooperatives, the institutional and policy support for cooperatives, and the interaction of a diversity of business forms.

She also touched on the necessity for investment in individual skills, community knowledge and innovation – both technical and social. Emphasis was placed on the fact that economic development in any one area is accompanied by social and cultural transformation, in which, cooperatives have a role to play.

Following yesterday’s event, another interactive panel discussion, “Youth Employment through Entrepreneurship: The Role of Cooperatives” is being held today from 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Source: UN Cooperatives News

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