ICA Statement to PrepCom II (Aug/Sept 1994)

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Second session
New York, 22 August-2 September 1994


               Tuesday, 23 August 1994, afternoon

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     The International Co-operative Alliance appreciates this
opportunity of bringing to the attention of the Preparatory
Committee the existence of a form of human organization which has
proved highly successful over many decades and in most societies
in enabling and empowering ordinary women and men to achieve a
significant degree of human security. This is the co-operative,
a people-centred and member-controlled business enterprise that
seeks to combine economic efficiency in the market with social
and environmental responsibility in society.

     Co-operatives enable women and men to take greater control
over their economic circumstances by combining their resources,
by participating democratically in the management of these 
resources, and by having some assurance they will be able to
enjoy the rewards of their own labour.

     Co-operatives create and protect employment, for their own
members and for many others in the communities where they
operate. They enable the employed and the self-employed to make
the most advantageous use of the benefits of their employment,
as consumers, savers and investors.

     In all of these ways co-operatives play a major role in
overcoming poverty and social integration: that is, in assuring
a sustainable and secure livelihood for many millions in all
regions of the world.

     So relevant to their needs and aspirations do ordinary
citizens find the co-operative form of enterprise that a total
of 725 million women and men are currently members of
cooperatives and make up the global movement represented by the
International Co-operative Alliance. These persons, together with
their immediate families, make up half of humanity. 

     Co-operative business enterprises are unique as a form of
human organization in that they combine the interests of
employers and labour: members who are workers or clients or
customers are at the same time owners. Through democratic
procedures of management special to co-operative business
enterprises members control business policy. Through local,
regional, sectoral and national representative organizations, and
with the help of specialized co-operative policy research and
development institutions and management training organizations,
many millions of ordinary women and men are able to influence
directly the business policies of significant sectors of the
economy many countries.

     In this way citizens are able to influence policy-making in
the direction of assuring the creation of productive employment,
and the protection of employment already existing, as well as the
ability of ordinary citizens to enjoy the rewards of their labour
as consumers.

     The International Co-operative Alliance welcomes the
references to the actual and potential co-operatives to the
creation of productive employment set out in Chapter V of
document L.13, but wishes to propose a few additions to the text,
as follows:

Paragraph 105, underlined section, ADD:

     In their formulation of policies designed to create and
protect productive employment for disadvantaged sections of
society, including in particular women, young persons, migrants,
indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and others who are
chronically unemployed or underemployed, Governments at both
national and local levels should institutionalize formal
partnerships with cooperative organizations in order to realize
fully the large potential of cooperative forms of business
enterprise and citizens' association for the achievement of
sustainable human security. Such partnerships should be regarded
as highly effective means for formulating and carrying out
sustainable regional development policies, particularly for rural
regions, depressed industrial regions and inner cities.

Paragraph 106, underlined section, ADD

     An active partnership with cooperative development
organizations offers a major opportunity for the mobilization of
human, capital and natural resources, including the promotion of
effective self-help and community-based economic, social and
environmental services.

Paragraph 111, underlined section, ADD

     Governments at both national and local levels should take
steps to establish partnerships with cooperative organizations
in order to promote and support the full realization of the
potential that exists in cooperative business enterprises for
providing infrastructure, utilities, housing and community-based
economic, social and environmental services by means of the
mobilization of under-utilized or unused local human, capital and
natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Paragraph 114, underlined section, ADD

     Conversion to cooperative business enterprises is often
successful, even in adverse circumstances, and should be promoted
and facilitated by means of programmes jointly undertaken by
Governments, cooperative development organizations, and
representatives of affected enterprises and communities.

Thank you Mr. Chairman