The UN’s 2012 Development Co-operation Forum began yesterday in New York, it will be followed by the International Day of Co-operatives on July 7.
The forum is taking place over 5 - 6 July and is part of the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) meeting from 2-7 July and will cover key issues linked to world poverty, and sustainability.
The forum brings together people from all areas of governance, local authorities and civil society organisations, and debates ways to improve the quality and effectiveness of co-operation.
“The world economy is precarious, and the risk of further recession remains. I am concerned about already high food and energy prices, which add a burden on the already vulnerable;” said Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the UN.
“We have made significant progress in reducing extreme poverty, but we have much work to do to eliminate these harsh conditions and disparities.”
The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, was one of the keynote speakers at the event.
He said: “This year’s United Nations International Year of Cooperatives reminds us that we need to put people at the centre of this change – to empower them to make development happen.”
Mr Carr went onto say that sustained and predictable finance, innovation through partnerships and heeding lessons learned were key to making “good old co-operation work better.”
The UN started a campaign at the Millennium Summit in 2000 to end world poverty by 2012. This was signed by 189 world leaders and contained 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) including: end hunger, gender equality, child health and environmental sustainability.
The Development Co-operative Forum is looking at ways that co-operation can be used to complete these MDGs.
Mr Carr said: “The time we have to achieve the MDGs is short. The proportion of people in our world going hungry sits stubbornly at over 15 per cent. To achieve our MDG target, we need to get that figure down to 10 per cent by 2015 – and then go lower. Working against us is the reality that our planet is growing weary of sustaining us.”
Mr Carr finished by saying: “Rio+20 gave us a platform, now we need to act. And we need to do so together. This forum is the place to make that happen. It has been a long time coming, but finally we have all the right people around the table to build the future we want.”
The forum will continue throughout the day. Co-operators across the world will be celebrating the International Co-operative Day, tomorrow 7 July.
This is the third Co-operative Development Forum.