Chapter XVI - Children and Youth in Sustainable Development

   This document has been made available in electronic format
      by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA

  Contribution of Co-operative Enterprises and the International
     Co-operative Movement to Implementation of UN AGENDA 21:
       Programme of Action for Sustainable Development 

                     Prepared jointly by
             the International Co-operative Alliance
                      the United Nations
  Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

                 Geneva and New York, April 1995

        For information purposes only. Not an official
   document of the United Nations and not officially edited.

                       CHAPTER XVI


    Cooperative enterprise and the broader international
cooperative movement is of direct and indirect relevance to the
condition of children. In a number of countries, particularly in
Southern Europe and in South America, education cooperatives,
established either by groups of teachers (as service provider
cooperatives) or by groups of parents on behalf of their children
(user cooperatives), play a significant role in the national
education system. Increasingly in both developed and developing
economies child-care cooperatives are providing a service to
children and their parents, of significance particularly to
women. Health cooperatives are particularly concerned to provide
appropriate services to children and their mothers, especially
in conditions where other types of health services are
inadequate.  Retail consumer cooperatives in many cases are
concerned to provide affordable and appropriate goods for
children.  Credit and savings cooperatives frequently establish
specific services for families with children, and insurance
cooperatives have developed policies and services specifically
adjusted to the needs of families, single mothers and children
and young persons themselves.

    Children and young persons have established their own
cooperatives - in many countries schools and institutes of higher
education have student owned and operated retail cooperatives
which provide affordable supplies of books, equipment and
clothing.  In a few countries students have established their own
savings and credit cooperatives: for example in an inner city
district of Springfield, Massachusetts the "D.E.Wells Youth
Credit Union" not only provides services to the local young
people but involves them in their operation and management. 174/ 

   Older children and young persons - particularly unemployed
young persons - have established production cooperatives.  For
example, in West Africa unemployed young people have begun to
form forestry conservation cooperatives under contract with
national forestry services. 175/

    These various types of cooperative enterprise serving the
needs of children and young persons are significant for the task
of achieving sustainable development in part because they
contribute to the alleviation of poverty and to the reduction of
pressures upon women. They are, perhaps, significant to an equal
extent because they provide a constituency open to information
and motivation through the cooperative movement's communications
system, and through participation in the operation of that
movement.  The international cooperative movement has taken
specific steps to include young people in programmes for the
development of cooperative media: for example the ICA organizes
seminars for young journalists from cooperative movements world-
wide.  Most cooperative movements give particular attention to
ensuring that young people become active members of cooperative

    Some consumer cooperative movements (for example, that in the
United Kingdom) report that the children of their members exert
a significant influence upon the environmental consciousness of
their parents as a result of the information they obtain in
schools. 176/

    In the United Kingdom the Ipswich Co-operative Society, a
consumer-owned wholesale and retail enterprise, had in 1989
launched a project entitled "Save Our Countryside".  This was a
competition run to encourage young people to care for the
environment. 800 entries were made by schools in the Ipswich
area. The project was taken up by cooperative enterprises
throughout the United Kingdom, and a nation-wide competition
planned for 1991. 177/ 

174/ National Cooperative Bank, op.cit., p. 4.
175/ Communication received from ICA Regional Office for West
     Africa, May 1994.
176/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 83, No. 4
     (1990), p. 50.
177/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 83, No. 2
     (1990), p. 96.