Co-ops Achieved Most of Habitat II Agenda on a Micro Level (1996)

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

            (Source: ICA News, Issue No.3/1996- pp.1-2)

          "Co-ops Achieved Most of Habitat II Agenda
                    on a Micro Level"

The Habitat Agenda adopted by governments at the United
Nations Conference on Human Settlement in Istanbul last month
is the most comprehensive statement of recognition of the
co-operative contribution to sustainable development yet
issued by the UN system.  With nearly twenty references to
possible partnerships with governments and civil society in
all sectors that will lead to healthier, safer and sustainable
urban settlements, the document will be a tool for the
co-operative movement to use to forge new partnerships and
strengthen existing ones.

Rolf Trodin, President of ICA Housing, presented the ICA
statement during the Plenary session of Habitat II on 7 June
1996.  He noted that the co-operative principles and values
address many of the goals of the conference and that the
co-operative movement continues to successfully meet the
challenges and concerns to which Habitat II was now drawing
world attention.

He stressed that, " realising the agenda of Habitat II,
national governments are more likely to find inspiration in
the co-op housing model than in any other housing option. We
have achieved most of the agenda already on a micro level. At
the international level, the co-op movement has an ongoing
history of bringing together the northern and southern co-op
sectors for their mutual benefit. Co-op housing has the answer
to many of human beings' deepest needs: for shelter, for
community, for control over their own lives, for values. We
urge those leaders present at Habitat II to work with the
co-op housing movement in seeking out development
partnerships, which can solve their shelter problem by giving
citizens access to the one form of housing that offers more
than just a place to live."

Co-operators from around the world joined the ICA in making
sure that the governments were aware of the important
contribution of the housing co-operative movement.
Co-operators from  Austria,  Canada, Chile, Czech Republic,
Kenya, Germany, India, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom,
Uruguay, USA, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also attended the
conference and the parallel events held at the NGO Forum.

ICA Housing Co-operatives held both a Board meeting and
General Assembly in Istanbul allowing many of their members
the opportunity to participate in the numerous events and
meetings taking place during Habitat II.  Many reported having
been able to make excellent contacts.  A special seminar on
movement-to-movement assistance was also held attracting
participants from national delegations and the NGO community.

A number of stands showing the successes of the co-operative
movement were also put up at the NGO Forum including the ICA
Housing photo exhibit on movement-to-movement assistance.

Co-operative Housing Foundation (USA) and a number of Turkish
co-operative organizations including Kent-Koop, Turkkent,
Taris, Union of Bornova Housing Co-operatives, also had

The Turkish Housing Co-operative Movement also held seminars
to present their successes and challenges for the future.

               Co-operative Initiatives Receive
                  Best Practices' Recognition

Launched by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements as
part of the preparatory process for Habitat II, `the City
Summit', the Best Practices Initiative aimed to forge a
positive vision of the urbanizing world by focusing attention
on practical solutions to some of the most pressing social,
economic and environmental problems. 

Over 600 entries were submitted from 90 countries.  The top
twelve entries received awards with a further 100 entries put
on the `Best 100 List' and others considered to be `Good

Co-operatives were prominent in the entries.  Each initiative
was judged on its impact, partnerships, and sustainability.
In addition, criteria regarding leadership, transparency,
empowerment of people and responsiveness of social and
cultural diversity, potential for replaceability, and
appropriateness to the local conditions.

SEWA, the Self Employed Women's Bank, established by the
co-operative and trade union movements in India was one of the
award winners for its success in providing loans at market
rates to women who would otherwise not have access to credit.

In the `Best 100 List', co-operative initiatives in Brazil,
China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Germany, Norway, Pakistan and
Venezuela were selected.  Other co-operative initiatives were
considered to be `Good practices'.

For further information on the initiatives see http://www.