ICA Collaboration with the UN: Background Info

     **************************************************
          ICA Collaboration with the United Nations
                  Background Information
     **************************************************

In order to achieve the objectives of the ICA, the ICA
Secretariat develops collaboration with the United Nations and
its specialized agencies as well as many other national,
international non-governmental organizations which pursue aims
of importance to co-operatives.

Collaboration between the ICA and the UN began in 1945 at the
inception of the United Nations in San Francisco. The ICA was one
of three non-governmental organizations (NGO) to receive
consultative status at the first session of the General Assembly
on 14 February 1946. Today, ICA is one of the forty-one NGOs
which holds Category 1 Consultative Status with the UN Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC).  This status provides the ICA with
the opportunity to participate at all UN Meetings and make its
point of view known to the participants through speeches,
circulation of documents, etc.

ICA collaborates with the UN and its agencies including the
International Labour Office (ILO), the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Industrial
Organization (UNIDO) and the UN regional economic and social
commissions.  Collaboration has been in the form of participation
in meetings, presentation of statements and circulation of
documentation, information exchange, and technical and financial
contribution to ICA co-operative development activities.

ICA has been able to have the UN recognize the importance of co-
operatives to economic and social development and most recently,
ICA has been able to bring discussion of co-operatives and their
contributions to a variety of areas into UN fora.  In addition
to the bi-annual report of the Secretary-General on co-
operatives, a number of other useful documents now include
references to the contribution of co-operatives in such areas as
social development (employment, poverty reduction), sustainable
development and the advancement of women.  These also call for
the support of co-operatives by Governments and international
organizations.  

A major achievement has been the proclamation of a United Nations
International Day of Co-operatives (July, 1995) to commemorate
the centennial of the ICA (UN General Assembly Resolution
49/155).  The same resolution also calls for due consideration
by the UN major conferences, governments and international
organizations of the role and contribution of the co-operative
movement.

Benefit of ICA-UN Relations

The benefits of ICA's relationship with the UN to the
organization and to its members have been numerous.  UN policy
statements which recognize the contribution of co-operatives and
call on governments, international and national development
organizations to promote the development and growth of co-
operatives have been important to ICA work of promoting co-
operatives and helping them develop.  UN resolutions and
recommendations are tools to be used by ICA, its membership and
the Co-operative Movement to approach Governments and begin
policy-dialogues, to secure funds for co-operative development,
to secure technical and financial assistance for co-operative
development, and to allow for contacts to be made by the ICA and
its members with other members of the civil society including the
media at global, regional, national and local levels. 

ICA, as an NGO in Consultative Status I, has been able to
continually ** sensitize policy-makers ** by making statements
at UN meetings, having ICA statements distributed as official UN
documentation and being able to distribute ICA documentation to
delegates.  In addition, the ICA receives vast quantities of
information on all sectors of activity which has been useful to
ICA regional offices, and its specialized organizations. 

     For more information on ICA-UN collaboration, 
     please contact the UN/Development Liaison Officer 
     at the ICA Secretariat.

          International Co-operative Alliance
          15, Route des Morillons
          1218 Grand Saconnex, Geneva
          Switzerland
          tel      +41 22 929 88 25 or 929 88 88
          fax      +41 22 798 41 22
          E-mail   <icageneva@gn.apc.org>

                                           September 1995