Chapter VIII - Protection of the Ocean and Seas

 -------------------------------------------------------------
   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
                              and 
                      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 VIII
                       --------------
     
VIII. PROTECTION OF THE OCEANS, ALL KINDS OF SEAS, INCLUDING
      ENCLOSED AND SEMI-ENCLOSED SEAS, AND COASTAL AREAS AND
      THE PROTECTION, RATIONAL USE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR
      LIVING RESOURCES;  AND PROTECTION OF THE QUALITY AND
      SUPPLY OF FRESHWATER RESOURCES:  APPLICATION OF INTEGRATED
      APPROACHES TO THE DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT AND USE OF WATER
      RESOURCES (CHAPTER 17 AND 18)

A.  Freshwater resources

    Agricultural co-operative movements in some countries point
out that farmers have a significant role in the control of
freshwater resources, and thereby in the limitation of
environmental damage.  For example, in Japan, where almost all
agricultural producers are members of multifunctional supply,
marketing and rural community development co-operatives (which
market 95 per cent of rice production), agricultural co-operative
representative organizations point out that 53 per cent of the
5.2 million hectares under cultivation are wet rice fields which
have significant flood control, erosion prevention and waste
processing functions. Their efficient maintenance by farmers
organized at the community and sub-regional levels in multi-
purpose supply, marketing and community service co-operatives
constituted an economically very significant contribution to
sustainable rural development.  These fields store about 5.1
billion tons of water, and it had been estimated that the cost
of dam construction capable of preventing flooding by this amount
of water would be in 1992 about 6,100 billion Yen (US $
50,830,000,000). 101/ 

    In 1992 in Japan the agricultural co-operative movement
proposed, as part of a strategy for ensuring sustainable
agriculture, forestry and rural development, that it should,
together with fisheries co-operatives and environmental
organizations, undertake a campaign to clean up estuaries, lakes
and rivers within rural regions. 102/  In Japan also
agricultural, consumer, fisheries and forest owners' co-
operatives have collaborated in the analysis of freshwater
resources - for example during 1991 in the rivers of the Shizuoka
Prefecture. 103/  In Japan also the consumer co-operative
movement has taken action to monitor pollution of freshwater
resources. For example, members of the Kanagawa consumer co-
operative check rivers for pollution. 104/ 

    In Gujarat, India, the Anand Niketan Ashram has supported the
establishment of three large multi-purpose co-operatives and 30
more specialized co-operatives serving in 1992 more than 50,000
persons. One of the activities of these co-operatives had been
to construct small ponds along streams to hold water following
the monsoon season.  These had raised the water table of adjacent
villages so that wells no longer went dry. An affordable system
of lift irrigation used small electric pumps to lift water to
water towers from which it was distributed by gravity to adjacent
fields. 105/ 

    Urban co-operative enterprises have also taken action to
conserve freshwater resources.  For example, in Winnipeg, Canada,
housing co-operatives have organized volunteers to clean up the
banks of the Assiniboine River which runs through the city. 106/

B.  Ocean and sea fisheries

     In a number of countries the greater part of the fisheries
sector is co-operatively organized: that is individual owners of
fishing vessels, or small- and medium-sized fisheries
enterprises, are the owners and members of co-operative
purchasing, supply, processing and marketing enterprises. In
Japan, for example, almost all fish caught is marketed through
co-operatives owned by fishery enterprises and households.  
Similarly very high proportions are marketed through co-operative
enterprises, which also supply inputs and services, in Norway,
Iceland, Canada and Spain.

     As an expression of the strong feeling for sustainability
among co-operatively organized fishing enterprises the fisheries
co-operative movement in a number of countries, supported by the
broader national co-operative movements, strongly support
national and international measures to conserve fisheries,
including fish stock management and fishing practices which are
based on ecologically sound scientific principles. In Japan, for
example, the National Federation of Fishery Co-operative
Associations has striven since 1991 to find environment-friendly
measures for disposing of waste materials, such as scrapped
fishing boats.107/

   In some countries members of fisheries co-operatives have been
severely affected by the actions taken by Governments in order
to achieve more sustainable practices and goals. Notwithstanding
these, they frequently support conservation measures.  For
example, the two-year moratorium on cod fishing in the Northwest
Atlantic established by the Canadian Government in the early
1990s resulted in the closure of fishery co-operatives throughout
Newfoundland and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces. This caused
unemployment for 20,000 fishermen and fish processing plants as
well as for many others in the more than 400 communities
dependant upon deep sea fisheries.  

   Despite this very severe situation, the Canadian Co-operative
Association and Le Conseil Canadien de la Cooperation supported
conservation measures and recommended in 1992 that the
International Co-operative Alliance strongly support the holding
of an international conference on deep sea fisheries.  The
participants should be encouraged to develop stringent rules that
would ensure responsible deep sea fishery and improve the
efficiency of regional fishery organizations;  require that all
countries involved in deep sea fisheries agree to guidelines,
quotas and inspection practices developed by participating
countries; and demand of participating nations and international
organizations that fishery sectors be managed in such a way as
to ensure the future viability and availability of fish stocks
to coastal countries dependant upon fisheries.  108/

     In many developing market economies, and particularly in
south and south-east Asia, small fisheries production co-
operatives play a significant role.

                          NOTES
                          -----
101/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 85, No. 4
     (1992), p.140.
102/ Ibid., p. 141.
103/ ICA News, No. 3, 1992, p. 17.
104/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 85, No. 4
     (1992), p. 146.
105/ ICA News, No. 3, 1992, p. 16.
106/ Ibid., p. 15.
107/ Ibid., p. 18.
108/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 84, No. 4
     (1992), pp. 143-144.