18 April 2019, New York, United States – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office hosted a half-day workshop with Emerging Ag on the Role of Cooperatives and SMEs in the Implementation of the 2030 SDGs. This workshop was sponsored by the Government of Sweden under the programme “Leveling the Playing Field”. Emerging Ag Inc. is an international consulting firm providing communications and public affairs services to clients in the Agriculture, Food and Health sectors. The course was consisted of two sessions focusing on the nature and advantages of cooperatives and how cooperatives contribute and enhance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Both sessions were moderated by Ms. Robynne Anderson, the President of Emerging Ag Inc. The event lasted from 10:00am to 1:00pm on Thursday, 18 April in the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The welcoming remarks were delivered by the UNITAR Head of New York Office, Mr. Marco Suazo and the Emerging Ag President, Ms. Robynne Anderson. Mr. Suazo emphasized the importance of cooperatives for the future of sustainable development and Ms. Anderson highlighted the large percentage of people living under $1.25 per day and how farmers and the sustainable development goals can work in the benefit of minimizing that number. Then, the first session began with introductions from the panelists, Ms. Jackie Klippenstein, the Senior Vice President of Dairy Farmers of America and Mr. Victor Neagu, the Communication Manager of the Cooperative Development Foundation of Canada. Both speakers gave interesting presentations regarding the types of cooperatives and the pillars and principles of cooperatives such as gender issues, financial inclusion and environmental sustainability and resilience.
Following an interactive Q&A between participants and panelists and a short quiz given to the participants, the second session began with introductions from the panelists, Mr. Atze Schaap, the Global Director of FrieslandCampina and Mr. John Ellenberger, the Senior Vice President of International Development Land O’Lakes. The panelists presented many facts regarding cooperatives and sustainable development goals. They talked about the existence of 3 million cooperatives in the world that employ over 280 million people, where 35% of all cooperatives are in agriculture. Hence, cooperatives can be directly associated with the implementation Sustainable Development Goals 1,2,3,5 and 8. The course was well-received by the audience. A wide range of audience have participated in the training session and have proposed a lot of valuable points. From delegates to NGO representatives and civil society organizations, the session fulfilled its objectives to increase the awareness on the pivotal role played by cooperatives in implementing the SDGs.