Co-operatives and Habitat II

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         July, 1996


Source : ICA News 2/1996


               Co-operatives and Habitat II
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The co-operative movement contributes to the goals of Habitat
II by creating key partnerships with governments and all
sectors of the civil society in improving environmental,
social, economic and political conditions in human
settlements.

The Habitat II Draft Global Plan of Action acknowledges the
relevance of co-operatives in supporting the goals of creating
employment, providing affordable and quality housing,
providing access to credit and financial services, promoting
social integration and in contributing to the economic and
social development of women through their participation in
co-operatives. 

Housing co-operatives provide communities with access to
affordable housing, security of tenure, and quality housing. 
They contribute to promoting safe and secure communities,
control over urban and rural planning and environmental
management.  Co-operatives demonstrate, through practical
application, the principles of democratic governance and
individual responsibility.
Housing co-operatives have been able to achieve these
objectives in a variety of ways through partnerships with
government and the civil society, as illustrated by the
following examples:  

*    In Canada, the Co-operative Housing Foundation tackled
     the problem of domestic violence within housing
     co-operatives by sensitizing members and working with
     local governments and women's associations.

*    The German Housing Co-operative Ludwig-Frank of Mannheim
     brought together low income families from 15 countries,
     to work in partnership with the Municipality of Mannheim
     to restore their block of 400 apartments.  The
     co-operative was honoured with a World Habitat Award in
     1992.

*    In Turkey, the Batikent Project was launched in 1979 by
     Kent-Koop (Union of Batikent Housing Construction
     Co-operatives) under the leadership of the Metropolitan
     Municipality of Ankara. It was the first mass housing
     project to demonstrate the success of public and private
     partnerships in the housing field in Turkey. Batikent was
     a pioneer in bringing low income people together in
     co-operatives, through the workers' unions or according
     to their place of work, to decide for themselves about
     the type, size and number of units in their housing
     projects. Housing "by the people and for the people" has
     had an impact on the housing shortage in Turkey and has
     kept down the sale and rental prices in the Ankara
     housing market. Today, 190,000 persons live in 43,000
     housing units at Batikent.

Co-operatives also transfer  know-how through technical
co-operation especially with regards to housing co-operative
activities.  For example:

*    In Zambia, the Norwegian housing co-operative movement
     (NBBL) in collaboration with Human Settlements of Zambia
     (HUZA), local authorities and Habitat have supported the
     Bauleni Urban Self-Help Project whose aim was to improve
     living conditions in Bauleni through support to self-help
     activities.

Numerous housing co-operatives are also providing movement-
to-movement assistance for the formation of housing
co-operatives in Latin America, East and Central Europe and
Asia. 

*    DESWOS, the German Assistance Association for Social
     Housing, is active in promoting self-help housing
     co-operatives in East and Central Europe, Latin America
     and Asia. 

*    The Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) of the United
     States is also very active in providing assistance to
     housing co-operatives in Central and Eastern Europe and
     the Newly Independent States (NIS), Latin America and
     Asia. The CHF model has integrated basic co-operative
     principles into a development model that has been singled
     out be the United Nations Centre for Human Settlement
     (HABITAT).

In Latin America for example, CHF is spearheading an
innovative, hemisphere-wide effort to create regional
associations of new associate members of ICA Housing, a
sectoral organization of the ICA.  Associate members will be
recruited from community-based organizations (CBOs), small
non-governmental associations (NGOs) and co-operatives which,
by virtue of their size, reach or financial situation, do not
fit the profile of traditional ICA members.  For a modest fee,
associate members will be integrated into a global network of
co-operative associations.  They will access, disseminate and
exchange information, lessons learned and best practices.  The
ICA network will also serve as means of matching international
organizations which provide financing and technical assistance
with the grassroots organizations in need of such support.  As
a first step toward this goal, CHF is currently drawing on its
extensive relationship with small and medium-sized
organizations working in areas as diverse as credit, housing,
urban environment and sanitation to conduct a survey of
potential ICA Housing associate members.  The survey will be
key to defining ways in which the ICA Housing may broaden its
base and fulfill its mission.  By next year, the decentralized
ICA regional offices, through collaboration with the ICA
Housing, will be able to function as a clearing-house for
small co-operatives and association throughout Latin America. 
The ICA will also significantly increase its awareness and
responsiveness to small communities' issues.

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This publication on housing is being printed especially for
distribution at Habitat II. 

UN press releases and information concerning the conference in
Istanbul will be available on the WWW url:
http://www.undp.org/un/habitat/UNCHS