ICA Statement to ECOSOC (June 1993)

  This document has been made available in electronic format by
         the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)


     What is the World Summit for Social Development?
The World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) was convened by
the United Nations from 6-12 March 1995 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It provided an opportunity for Heads of State and Governments to
address the major social development dilemmas facing societies
the world over as they approach the 21st century. 

     Key Issues of the Summit

Three core issues were found to be of overriding concern to
virtually every government, regardless of its size, wealth, or
geographic location: 

          the eradication of poverty, 
          the need for expansion of productive employment, and
          the enhancement of social integration 

     Preparatory Process and Key Players

A number of meetings were held by the UN in preparations for the
WSSD.  These included:

     The 1993 session of the UN Economic and Social Council
     (ECOSOC) which took place from 28 June to 30 July in
     Geneva. For its 1993 ministerial segment, ECOSOC chose the
     theme "World Summit for Social Development, including the
     role of the United Nations system in promoting social

     A series of Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings where
     draft decisions on the WSSD were discussed.  The PreCom's
     work produced a draft Declaration and Programme of Action
     which was further discussed, amended and approved in

Governments where not the only actors involved in the discussing
the outcome of the WSSD. Arrangements for the participation of
NGOs at the Summit and its preparatory process were decided by
the PrepCom at its organizational session. In particular,
governments requested the fullest possible participation of NGOs
from developing countries.

     Why did the ICA participate?

The WSSD presented an opportunity for the world co-operative
movement to be recognized as an important contributor to social
and  economic development.  The ICA as non-governmental
organization uniting, representing and serving co-operatives
worldwide and having category I consultative status with ECOSOC,
began a process of sensitizing governments on how co-operatives
were responding to the challenges of social development.

ICA participated in meetings of the PrepCom, presented statements
and documents to show how co-operatives were tackling the three
core issues of the WSSD. These are found in the gopher files that

     What did ICA accomplish?

The document adopted in Copenhagen cited the role of co-
operatives in contributing to alleviating poverty, creating
productive employment and increasing social cohesion.  It is a
tool to be used by co-operatives for facilitating policy-dialogue
with governments and development agencies, for finding support
(financial and technical) and for providing international
legitimacy to the work of co-operatives.