ICA and the United Nations

*ICA and the United Nations*

ICA has continued to increase its collaborative activities with the United
Nations and its specialized agencies since the XXIX ICA Congress
(Stockholm). Collaboration has taken the form of ICA participation in
various UN fora where ICA represented the interests of the co-operative
movement as well as technical and financial support from the UN and its
specialized agencies for ICA activities.  These activities have confirmed
the words of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, when he
addressed participants of the Stockholm Congress reasserting the support of
the UN to the development of co-operatives and praising the work of the
ICA.

The UN Department has provided follow-up for a number of the Stockholm
Congress Resolutions including the declaration by the UN of an
International Year of Co-operatives, the support for activities in the
field of Literacy, the Rights of the Child and Co-operative Development.
The UN/Development Liaison Officer has coordinated representation to
meetings of the UN and its specialized agencies and has provided
information on a regular basis to ICA members and UN bodies.


Co-operative Development

The ICA has collaborated in a number of co-operative development activities
obtaining both financial and technical assistance from the UN and its
specialized agencies including : UNIFEM (ICA/WOCCU Seminar on Women and
Co-operative Credit, November/December, 1988); UNIDO (International Seminar
of Latin American Industrial Co-operatives, April, 1989); UNDP (ICA/TCDC
Programme in Co-operatives in Asia, 1989); UNESCO (Travel Grants for
Leaders in Workers' and Co-operative Education, 1990-1991); FAO (Studies:
Agricultural Co-operatives: Assessment Based on Selected Country Studies in
Central America and the Caribbean; Co-operatives and Other Rural
Organizations: Regional (West Africa) Assessment Based in Selected Country
Studies, 1991; and FAO/ICA/ECE Workshop on Specific Problems of the
Transformation of Collective Farms into Viable Market Oriented Unites,
1992);  ILO (ILO/ICA/UN Centre for Social and Humanitarian Affairs Regional
Workshop on Co-operatives of Disabled Persons, January 1992).

The UN/Development Liaison Officer continued to represent the ICA and
collaborate with the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of
Co-operatives (COPAC). The ICA has participated in the regular meetings of
COPAC to coordinate development activities with the FAO, ILO, UN, and other
NGOs working in co-operative development.  The ICA was also represented and
provided technical expertise in a meeting organized by COPAC in the
Philippines - International Meeting on Co-operative Education and Training
(October, 1990).  Another joint activity with COPAC has been the United
Nations Secretary-General's report, The Status and Role of Co-operatives in
the Light of New Economic and Social Trends in which the ICA has provided
input for the preparation of the questionnaire for the collection of
information for the report and financial support for the preparation of the
final report.

Over the period 1988-92, the UN/Development Liaison Officer has provided
information on UN priority themes for inclusion in the ICA News, as well as
providing regional offices, ICA specialized organizations and working
parties with information on United Nations and other development
organizations' activities. In this regard, a computerized databank on ICA
present and potential development partners was established in 1991, and ICA
Project Information Sheets have been updated on a regular basis and
disseminated to interested organizations.

Environment

During the period under review, the UN Department became a focal point for
information regarding environment and development activities.  In the early
part of 1990, the Secretariat provided ICA representation to NGO
preparatory meetings for the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) including meetings organized by the UN in Geneva; the
Centre for Our Common Future, and GLOBE 90.  After the adoption of the
Central Committee resolution (Madrid 1990), "Environment and Development",
the UN/Development Liaison Officer provided and coordinated representation
during 1991 to UN meetings on the Environment including the Second and
Third Preparatory Committee of UNCED in Geneva, the FAO/Netherlands
Conference on Agriculture and the Environment, UNIDO/Denmark Symposium on
Sustainable Industrial Development and various working groups established
under the UN agencies.  In addition, the Secretariat has continued to
collect information on ICA member activities in the field of environment
protection, has received delegations from member organizations interested
in exchanging information on environmental activities and collected general
environment and development information for dissemination in ICA
publications, as well as to the UN organizations and non-governmental
organizations.  The UN Department has provided assistance with the
selection of the Environment as one of the Congress themes and has
continued to provide support as necessary.  The UN/Development Liaison
Officer coordinated representation for ICA participation in UNCED and
assisted in the organization of a Co-operative Seminar held as part of the
Global Forum in Rio, Brazil.


International Year of Co-operatives

The Secretariat provided information to member organizations on the
procedure of having an international year declared by the United Nations.
Given that a Government needed to propose a resolution for the
international year to the UN General Assembly (GA), members were requested
to seek support from their respective governments.  Due to political
changes both in Asia and East and Central Europe, the ICA was unable to
secure a firm commitment from a government to introduce a resolution to the
GA.  With the assistance of the ICA Regional Office for Central America and
the Caribbean, the Secretariat is presently investigating the possibility
of commemorating the centenary of the ICA with another UN event, i.e. an
international day, week or month.

To assist in UN representation the following persons have served as ICA
Permanent Representatives providing representation and information :

UN - New York           R. Scherer 1988-1990
                        P. Sheehan 1988-1990
                        R. Beasley 1990-1991

UN - Vienna             Dr. A.E. Rauter
                        S. Schlifke

FAO                     G. Vecchi
                        L. Visani

UNESCO                  F. Baulier

UNCTAD                  E. A. Wohlner

UNIDO                   V. Sielanko 1988-1990
                        J. Svoboda 1990-1991

HABITAT                 I. Hansen

ECE                     C-J Hachmann

Reports of their activities follow:

United Nations - New York

ICA representatives to UN-NY have over the reporting period kept in contact
with the Secretariat of the UN in order to obtain information and support
for the declaration of an International Year of Co-operatives.  In
addition, the representatives have attended meetings of the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) and have provided information on World Bank
activities of interest to co-operatives.

UN - Vienna

ICA representatives to the UN in Vienna have continued ICA representation
to the regular sessions of UN bodies (Peace and Disarmament, Women, etc.).
In addition, regular meetings have been arranged with the Department
within UNIDO dealing with industrial co-operatives, and collaboration has
been strengthened with ILO-MATCOM (Material and Techniques for Co-operative
Management Training).

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

ICA representation at FAO has concentrated on the topic of People's
Participation.  The ICA representatives participated in a number of
meetings in which the FAO Plan of Action for People's Participation in
Agricultural and Rural Development was discussed and made a number of
interventions to express ICA's support for the Plan.  The ICA also followed
the discussions of the FAO Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in
Agriculture and Rural Development.

Both the ICA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the ICA Women's
Committee participated in meetings of the FAO.


United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

ICA has been particularly involved with UNIDO through its collaboration
with CICOPA.  The two organizations planned and organized a number of
training courses for industrial co-operatives.  The ICA was also
represented at various UNIDO meetings on co-operatives and topic of
interest to producer co-operatives including a Symposium on Industrial
Sustainable Development (October, 1991).

United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD)

The ICA was represented on the Committee on Invisibles and Financing
related to trade (CIFT) which is responsible for insurance and re-insurance
issues.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

The ICA representative to UNESCO has participated in a number of meetings
of the UNESCO NGO Standing Committee as well as the General Conferences of
UNESCO.

Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)

The ICA is principally represented on the Committee on Housing, Building
and Planning of the Commission.  Discussions have been focused on the
following : urban renewal and modernization policies; human settlement
problems; urban and regional planning etc. The ICA has been particularly
active in topics relating to housing co-operatives in East and Central
Europe.

Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

ICA has been represented at various sessions of the Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and Pacific by the ICA Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific.


Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

The ICA was represented by the ICA Regional Office for Central America and
the Caribbean in a regional conference on the integration of women.