ICA and the United Nations

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

     (Source: Review of International Co-operation,
     Vol.89, No.3/1996, p.22-26)

                 ICA  and the United Nations

                     MariaElena Chavez-P

Ongoing Activities
During the past year, the UN/Development Liaison Section has
been active in ensuring that information on co-operatives,
their contributions and importance to major development issues
have been transmitted to the UN system. In order to accomplish
this, representation and document submissions were made to the
UN bodies and UN conferences including the preparatory process
of the World Food Summit and the UN Conference on Human
Settlements (HABITAT II). Collaboration with UN agencies
including the FAO, ILO, United Nations, UN ECE, and WHO was
also continued and strengthened. Preparation for the UN
International Day of Co-operatives and contribution to the UN
Secretary-General's report on co-operatives has also been a
major area of work in the past year.  

The UN Section also collaborated in the preparation of the
UN/ICA report on health co-operatives released in an advance
unedited version in May, 1996 - "Review of National Experience
in Promoting and Supporting the Contribution of Co-operative
to Social Development: Co-operative Enterprise in the Health
and Social Care Sectors - A Global Review and Proposals for
Policy Coordination".

In addition, the ICA/UN Development Liaison Officer, as the
Environment Focal Point, continues to collect and disseminate
information on environment and sustainable development issues.

UN reports on such areas as organic production, trade and
environment, clean production, etc have been provided to ICA
regional offices and specialized bodies to enable them to
inform their members and take action.

As Gender focal point, the UN/Development Liaison Officer has
regular contact with the Global Women's Committee and provides
information to that Committee as well as to the regional
offices and their gender officers. ICA was represented at the
Commission on the Status of Women to monitor follow-up of the
Beijing Platform for Action and inform the Commission on ICA's

Other activities undertaken include working with the ICA
Communications Department on the ICA/UWCC Co-operative Gopher,
the use of electronic mail and internet access for the ICA
Head Office.

(N.B. MariaElena Chavez-P was promoted  from UN/Development
Liaison Officer to Director of UN/NGO Relations on 1 July

United Nations International Day of Co-operatives
6 July 1996
The UN Section worked on a series of activities related to the
International Day. 

The UN Section assisted the Communications Department in the
preparation of a press pack for the International Day.
Specific activities undertaken include collaboration in the
preparation, collection and selection of items for inclusion
in the press pack, identification of recipients of materials
including UN agencies and information centres, development
agencies, and the media.  

The UN Section collaborated with the UN Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development (UN DPCSD) to develop
background information enabling the UN Secretary-General to
issue a message on the Second International Day of
Co-operatives. UN DPCSD was provided with updated contact
addresses of governmental ministries in charge of
co-operatives and ICA member organizations in order to ensure
that the Secretary-General's message reached them in time for
the celebration of the Day.  

In addition, the UN  Section collaborated closely with the UN
Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
in the preparations for a Panel Discussion on the occasion of
the International Day on the theme "Partnership between the
"UN and the International Co-operative Movement" held at UN
headquarters in New York on 1 July, 1996. A video presentation
on the co-operative movement, a press briefing and interviews
with UN television were also organized. Co-operative leaders
from around the world were invited to participate in the panel
discussion which enabled excellent discussions with the
Under-Secretary- General for Policy Coordination and
Sustainable Development on how practical measures to
strengthen the relationship between ICA and the UN. ICA is
presently following-up on the recommendations made in New

The UN Section assisted in making the materials for
International Day available on the internet via the ICA/UWCC
Co-operative Gopher and the cooperative listserver. The UN
Secretary-General's message, and UN press releases were widely

Major United Nations Meetings
Habitat II
Information on the preparations for Habitat II have been
provided on a regular basis to the ICA representative to
Habitat, ICA Housing and its members. The UN Section provided
assistance to ICA Housing to enable participation in Habitat
II and presentation of a statement to the conference on behalf
of the ICA. The UN Section ensured printed and electronic
distribution of the statement. 

The UN Section collaborated with ICA Housing and the ICA
Communications Department in the preparation of a special ICA
News for Habitat II. Copies were distributed at the official
conference as well as at the NGO Forum.

World Food Summit
The UN Section, in collaboration with the ICA permanent
representatives to the FAO, have ensured ICA presence at the
preparatory committee meetings for the Summit and direct
contacts with the WFS Secretariat in Rome. 

The ICA presented a statement and circulated a report on the
contribution of fisheries co-operatives to food security at
the Kyoto International Conference on the Sustainable
Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security in December, 1995.
The UN Section collaborated with the ICA Fisheries Committee
in the preparation of both these and the Fisheries Committee
participated in the Conference on behalf of the ICA. 

In January 1996, the ICA presented a statement to the 21st
Session of the Committee on World Food Security highlighting
the importance of the co-operative movement in food production
and distribution. In April, 1996, at the request of the FAO
Rural Development Division, the UN Section with contributions
from the ICA regional offices and the International
Agricultural Co-operative Organization prepared a special
report on "The Role of the Co-operative in Contributing to
Food Security and the World Food Summit and its Follow-up".
This report will be incorporated into a larger document
prepared by the FAO to be distributed as official
documentation at the World Food Summit. 

The UN Section continues close collaboration with the
International Agricultural Co-operative Organization in all
preparations for the Summit which will be held in November,
1996.  In addition, it has also taken contact with other NGOs,
especially the International Federation of Agricultural
Producers, to find common platforms to lobby the World Food

Collaboration with UN Agencies
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the Food and Agriculture
Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
Collaboration continues with FAO at the global and regional
levels.  At the global level contacts with Rural Institutions
and People's Participation Service on policy issues has
continued with the assistance of the ICA permanent
Representatives to FAO, who keeps ICA informed on issues of
particular interest including the upcoming World Food Summit. 

FAO has also collaborated with the ICA Electronic Networking
Project by providing information for the ICA/UWCC Co-operative

International Labour Office (ILO)
The ICA has continued to closely collaborate with the ILO on
global and regional activities.  ICA finalized and distributed
the ILO/ICA Gender Package "Gender Issues in Co-operative
Human Resource Development" in early 1996. Collaboration with
the ILO Coop Branch and its programmes - CoopNet, CoopReform
and INDISCO - continue at both global and regional levels. 

ILO has also collaborated with the ICA Electronic Networking
Project by providing information for the ICA/UWCC Co-operative

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
In October, 1995, the ICA submitted a report to the ECE
Agricultural Committee entitled, "Institutions and policies
relating to agricultural Markets and their Impact on Trade:
The role of co-operatives, new approaches" which highlighted
the significance of agricultural co-operatives in regional
trade in North America and Europe. The document was officially
distributed as a UN ECE document. Information on the ICA
European activities has also been provided to the ECE to
develop future collaboration.

The ICA permanent representative to the ECE continues
monitoring the activities of the ECE Committee on Human
Settlements. The permanent representative has been active in
assisting in the organization of ECE workshops on housing
co-operatives to be held in Prague in November 1996. The Czech
Union of Housing Co-operatives will co-host the meeting. It is
expected that a handbook on housing co-operatives within a
market economy will be published following the workshop.

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)
The permanent representative to UNIDO continues monitoring the
activities of UNIDO and seeking opportunities to collaborate
with ICA. UNIDO information deemed of interest to CICOPA is
regularly forwarded to the Committee for their attention. 

In December 1995, ICA was represented at the UNIDO Forum on
Cleaner Industrial Production, where the permanent
representative presented a statement on ICA and its
contribution to sustainable human development. 

In May 1996, the UN Section also facilitated contacts between
the UNIDO secretariat and the ICA regional Office for Asia and
the Pacific to investigate the possibility of undertaking a
study on industrial co-operatives in Myanmar. 

World Health Organisation (WHO)
Collaboration with the WHO Global Programme on AIDS in the
development of a research project to develop and test the
benefit of an approach to reduce HIV infection and sexually
transmitted diseases in a fishing-trading community in Zambia
continues. ICA member, the Zambia Co-operative Federation, is
one of the partner organizations identified to implement the
pilot project. 

The ICA Development Programme is working with WHO on expanding
the scope of the project to include savings and credit

                    Other Areas of Work

Electronic Networking
The UN Section has closely collaborated with the
Communications Department in the setting up of the ICA/UWCC
Co-operative Gopher. Information on ICA/UN activities as well
as from the specialized bodies has been collected for
uploading to the Gopher. In addition, information on
co-operatives from outside sources, including COPAC members
and the UN has been sought.

Finally, the ICA's recent ISDN connection to the Internet has
allowed for information to be more quickly and easily
accessed. The UN Section has regularly sought information
that can be of interest to ICA, its regional offices,
specialized bodies and specific members. UN documentation and
information on UN major conferences available on the Internet
have been particularly useful in keeping up with the latest
developments and has allowed rapid response.

Other Contacts
ICA continues to participate in the work of the Conference of
NGOs in Consultative Status (CONGO) and the Federation des
Institutions Internationales Etablies a Geneve (FIIG).