ICA and the United Nations

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

                 ICA and the United Nations

During the past year, the UN/Development Liaison Officer 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 major UN
conferences such as the World Summit for Social Development, the
Fourth World Conference on Women, and Habitat II.  Collaboration
with UN agencies including the FAO, ILO, United Nations, UN ECE,
WFP and WHO was also continued and strengthened.  Preparation for
the UN International Day of Co-operatives undertaken in
collaboration with the Communications Department has also been a
major area of work in the past year.  Special collaboration with
COPAC members continued throughout the year and has focused on a
number of issues including preparation for the World Summit on
Social Development and contributions from COPAC and its members
to the ICA Electronic Networking Project. 

In addition, the ICA/UN Development Liaison Officer as the
Environment Focal Point continued to collect and disseminate
information on environment and sustainable development issues,
finalized the Co-operative Agenda 21 for submission to the
Manchester Congress and General Assembly and provided information
to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.  Other
activities undertaken include monitoring of ICA development
programme information and assisting in ICA Congress preparations.

United Nations International Day of Co-operatives, 1 July 1995
At the request of ICA and other members,  the Executive Secretary
of COPAC lobbied with Governments for the adoption by the General
Assembly of a resolution recognizing the contribution of
co-operatives to resolving major economic and social problems 
and inviting Governments, relevant international organizations
and specialized agencies to observe annually the International
Day of Co-operatives.  The General Assembly adopted resolution
49/155 on 23 December 1994.  With this resolution concentrated
work began on preparations for the International Day.  

The UN Section assisted the Communications Department in the
preparation for the International Day.  With the assistance of
the UN Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable
Development, contacts were made with the Department for Public
Information and the UN Information Centres.  The UN Section
liaised with the UN Secretariat providing information and
materials on the ICA and the Co-operative Movement.  In addition,
contact addresses of the UN Information Centres were sent to ICA
member organizations so that these could be invited to
participate in activities organized for the celebration of the
Day. The UN was also provided with updated contact addresses of
governmental ministries in charge of co-operatives to facilitate
targeting information on the International Day to Governments. 
The UN Section provided ICA member contact addresses to
facilitate distribution of UN materials to ICA members. 

Finally, the UN Section made the UN Secretary-General's message
and copies of the ICA press pack available to delegates of the
Economic and Social Council Substantive Session of 1995, held in
Geneva in June/July 1995. 

At the Secretariat level, assistance was provided in the
selection of items for inclusion in the press pack,
identification of recipients of materials including UN agencies,
development agencies, and the media.  Collection of information
regarding how the co-operative movement celebrated the
International Day of Co-operatives is in progress. 

As a result of the work done in collaboration with the UN, the UN
Secretary-General issued a message in English and French on the
occasion of the International Day.  The UN International Research
and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women issued the
message in Spanish.  The UN Message was sent by fax from the UN
to each  ICA member.  The ICA Secretariat posted it on the
electronic network for consultation by all having access to
Internet through the ICA/UWCC Co-operative Gopher.  The message
was also sent via the co-operative listserver.  The UN Department
for Public Information also prepared a background information
note in English and French entitled "Co-operatives: 'Schools of
Democracy'" which was disseminated by the UN distribution system
to Governments, development agencies and the media.  Finally, new
areas of collaboration with UN agencies have been proposed as a
result of the coverage given to the Co-operative Movement through
the celebration of the International Day.

International Year of the Family - Testimonial Award
On May 15 1994, the ICA was recognized for its contribution to
the International Year of the Family by receiving a Testimonial
Award.  ICA was noted as having disseminated information that
created greater awareness of the family as the fundamental unit
of society and encouraging its member organizations to initiate
activities to promote the year.

Information on activities undertaken by ICA members for the
International Year was provided to the Secretariat of the IYF.

Major United Nations Meetings
World Summit for Social Development (WSSD)
ICA began preparing for the WSSD in late 1993.  In 1994, ICA
participated in WSSD preparatory meetings in New York as well as
in COPAC-organized Open Fora dealing with WSSD issues. 

In 1995 the following activities were undertaken to ensure that
co-operatives were recognized as being important partners to the
UN for WSSD implementation.

In January, letters were sent to governments through their UN
mission requesting support for co-operatives and their inclusion
as actors to be involved in the implementation of the WSSD
Programme of Action.

In February/March, ICA, in collaboration with the United Nations
Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
prepared eight background information notes.  These were
distributed to the participants of the WSSD in Copenhagen as well
as uploaded to specific electronic conferences by Greennet
support staff in Copenhagen.

ICA was able to facilitate the holding of a COPAC Open Forum
during the WSSD.  The seminar "Co-operatives, Farmers'
Organizations and Sustainable Development" was held on 7 March in
the Bella Centre in Copenhagen as a WSSD special event. The
ICA/UN background notes were disseminated at the seminar.

In collaboration with COPAC, ICA assisted manning a stand at the
NGO Forum (a parallel event held in conjunction with the WSSD)
which provided information on co-operatives and specific
information on each of the COPAC members.

The UN/Development Liaison Officer assisted the Communications
Department by following-up with the IPS in Copenhagen regarding
the preparation of a special insert on co-operatives to be
included in the daily newspaper TERRA VIVA.  The insert appeared
on 8 March and was distributed to all Summit and NGO Forum

Parallel to the official activities of the WSSD, NGO members of
COPAC (ICA; International Federation of Agricultural Producers
and the World Council of Credit Unions) met with the Chairman of
the WSSD to discuss how co-operatives could be included in
follow-up activities.  As a result of these activities, the ICA
was invited by the United Nations to participate in a seminar on
"The Involvement of the Civil Society in the Follow-Up to the
Social Summit" held in New Paltz (New York) in June, 1995.

Fourth World Conference on Women
After having co-ordinated representation of the ICA at the
regional preparatory meetings for Africa, Asia, Latin America and
Europe, the ICA submitted a report  to the Secretariat of the
Beijing Conference summarizing the ways in which co-operatives
have and can in future contribute to the advancement of women. 
The ICA was represented at the 39th Session of the Commission on
the Status of Women (March, 1995) where this document was
distributed to select delegations and was uploaded to electronic
conferences for participants to access.  In addition, the ICA
collaborated with the United Nations Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development in the preparation of a
longer report which was made available to all delegations at the
session.  ICA also has participated in meetings of the
Geneva-based Sub-Commission on the Status of Women.

The ICA Regional Offices and the ICA Women's Committee have been
copied information on the Beijing Conference. Invaluable
contributions were received from the Gender Officers in the
regions, the Focal Point for Gender Issues of ICA Europe and the
Chair of the ICA Women's Committee.

The UN Section has prepared representation to the Beijing
Conference and has provided information to the ICA official
delegation on practical information regarding the conference.  A
statement to be delivered by a member of the ICA Board has been
prepared and has been uploaded to the electronic networks for
participants to access.  With the assistance of COPAC, ICA has
identified co-operators who plan on attending the Beijing
Conference in order to better co-ordinate activities in Beijing
and improve future collaboration on gender issues.

Habitat II
ICA has received accreditation to participate in Habitat II in
Istanbul, 1996. Information on the preparations for Habitat II
have been provided on a regular basis to the ICA representative
to Habitat and the ICA Housing Committee.  Consultation with
members of the Committee have been held to determine how best to
ensure ICA~s representation to the conference in Istanbul in
1996.  Contacts have been taken with the Habitat II Secretariat
and information on the ICA and its activities relevant to Habitat
II issues has been provided.  Contacts have been facilitated by
using electronic mail.

Collaboration with UN Agencies
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Collaboration continues with FAO at the global and regional
levels.  At the global level contacts with People's Participation
Service on policy issues have 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.  In addition, the ICA Agriculture Committee has
begun negotiations on a possible ICA Agriculture Committee - FAO
Agreement to promote future collaboration in such areas as
sustainable development, trade promotion and data bank
development. Finally, at the request of the ICA Consumer
Committee, a background note on the possible future ICA - FAO/WHO
Codex Alimentarius collaboration has been prepared by the
UN/Development Liaison Officer which will be submitted in
Manchester for discussion.

ICA was represented at various meetings including the 13th
Session of the FAO Committee on Agriculture 13th Session (March,
1995) and the 21st Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries
(March, 1995).

FAO has also contributed to the ICA Electronic Networking Project
by providing information on the People's Participation Service
which works with co-operatives.

At the regional level, ICA ROWA collaborated with FAO in the
organization of an ICA/FAO seminar on women and co-ops.

International Labour Office (ILO)
The ICA has continued to closely collaborate with the ILO on
global and regional activities.  ICA is presently finalizing an
ILO/ICA Gender Package "Gender Issues in Co-operative Human
Resource Development" with funding from the ILO CoopNet. 
Collaboration with CoopNet in the regions included participation

-   The ILO/ICA/International Institute Histradrut jointly
organized an inter-regional workshop "Gender Issues in
Co-operative HRD" where representatives of the ICA included the
HRD Director from Head Office, ROAP Gender Advisor, ROECSA HRD
Manager and Vice-Chairperson of the ICA Women~s Committee.

-   The semi-annual consultative meeting of the ILO CoopNet
programme in Tanzania where the HRD Director from Head Office,
the ROECSA Regional Director and the ROECSA HRD Manager

In addition, the ICA ROAP published a manual on modern personnel
policies for Asia in collaboration with ILO CoopNet. Close
collaboration between ROAM and the ILO Coopnet continues
especially with regards to the formulation of HRD strategies for
the region.

ICA has continued its collaboration with the ILO CoopReform
Programme and the INDISCO programme. ICA participated in the
Meeting of Experts on Co-operative Law (22-26 May) and the
ILO-INDISCO Technical Consultation and Planning Meeting (July,

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 follow-up to ICA representation at the 45th Session of the ECE
Agricultural Committee, the ICA has been requested to collect
information on the institutions and policies relating to
agricultural markets and their impact on the trade role of
co-operatives, new approaches.  The Secretariat has contacted the
ICA Agricultural Committee and will proceed with contacts to
individual members in the agricultural sector.  The report will
be submitted at the end of October.

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 and has
participated in a meeting of the Committee~s Working Party on
Housing Development, Modernization and Management (May, 1995).

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (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. 

World Food Programme (WFP)
ICA participated in a consultation with NGOs in May 1995.  ICA is
determining how best to collaborate with WFP in its food-aid

World Health Organization (WHO)
Collaboration with the WHO Global Programme on AIDS in the
development of a research project to develop and test the benefit
of an enabling approach in reducing HIV infection and
sexually-transmitted diseases in a fish-trading community in

In February, 1995 ICA participated in a meeting on "Effective
approaches for the prevention of HIV/AIDS in women" which was
part of the International Consultation for policy-makers on women
and AIDS in preparation for Beijing.  At this meeting, the ICA
HRD Director and ICA/UN Development Liaison Officer provided
information on the ICA and how co-operatives empower women.

In June/July 1995 a mission to Zambia was organized by the WHO.
The ICA HRD Director participated in the mission whose purpose
was to work with the National AIDS Programme in fostering and
strengthening co-operative initiatives involving the project for
migratory fish traders. The mission also included participation
from the Zambia Co-operative Federation who will assist in the
implementation of the project.

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 the ICA Development
Programme 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 connection to the Internet has allowed for
information to be quickly and easily accessed.  The
UN/Development Liaison Officer regularly seeks 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 continued to participate in the work of the Conference of
NGOs in Consultative Status (CONGO) and the Fdration des
Institutions Internationales Etablies  Geneve (FIIG).