Co-operative Message at the Social Summit

Co-operative Message at the Social Summit

Among the thousands of participants at the United Nations Social Summit in
Copenhagen from 6-12 March were representatives of the ICA and the other
members of COPAC (the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of

The ICA's delegates-Board members Hasle Nielsen and Yehudah Paz, and Staff
members Bruce Thordarson and MariaElena Chavez-emphasised the important
contribution which co-operatives make, in serving their members, with
regard to the three Summit themes of poverty alleviation, employment
creation, and social integration.

In collaboration with the UN Department for Policy Coordination and
Sustainable Development, the International Federation of Agricultural
Producers, the JCCU Medical Co-op Committee, and the World Council of
Credit Unions, ICA prepared eight pamphlets on key Summit issues for
distribution to the participants.

On 7 March a special seminar was organised for official Summit participants
on the theme of co-operatives, farmers' associations, and sustainable
development.  Mr. Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General responsible for
the Social Summit, opened the meeting with a strong message of support for

The Social Summit's Programme of Action includes five specific proposals on
the role of co-operatives, and four proposals on their participation in the
implementation and follow-up of the Summit.

They were added during the various preparatory meetings prior to the Summit
as a result of strong co-operative lobbying, which was assisted by the UN
Secretary-General's 1994 report to the General Assembly, in which he
declared that "co-operative enterprises provide the organisational means
whereby a significant proportion of humanity is able to take into its own
hands the tasks of creating productive employment, overcoming povertty, and
achieving social integration".

A four-page co-operative insert was published in the Summit's official
daily publication, Terra Viva, which was distributed to all Summit and NGO

This insert was included as a special insert in the printed copy of this
issue of ICA News (pages 9 - 12). Please note that the article The Pavement
Dwellers on page 11 is by Eric Eggertson, Editor of the Credit Union Way
Magazine and not Jenni Thomson as wrongly accredited in the supplement.

The Federation of Danish Co-operatives contributed to spreading the
co-operative message by publishing three special brochures and organising
study visits for the Summit participants, and by setting up an information
booth at the parallel NGO Forum.