CO-OPERATIVE PRINCIPLES INTERNATIONAL ON-LINE CONFERENCE "COOPVALU" If you can't make it to the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Manchester Congress in September, join the discussion on co-op principles from your desktop! If you have a modem and an Internet e-mail address, joining the conference is as easy as sending an e-mail message. An online conference allows you to make comments, post information, and "listen" to what other people have to say. Conference contributions come automatically to your e-mail box each day. Instructions on joining the on-line conference are given below (see "How To Join the Conference"). At the ICA Centennial Congress in Manchester (U.K.), Sept. 20-23, the ICA General Assembly will adopt a "Statement on Co-operative Identity" which will replace the "Co- operative Principles" adopted by the ICA Congress in 1966. This Identity Statement will guide co-operatives into the 21st century. The ICA Board is proposing that co-operatives should consider including the Identity Statement in their by-laws, implementing it in their daily work, and encouraging governments to base co-operative legislation upon it, where applicable. The Statement follows a complete review by the ICA of the values and principles that characterize co-op movements around the world. Delegates and observers from co-operatives and credit unions worldwide will congregate at the Manchester Congress to continue the discussion on co-operative principles. Become part of the discussion even if you can't make it to Manchester. The on-line conference will run from September 6-29 (two weeks prior to the Congress and one week after the Congress). You can join the conference at any time, for however long you like, anytime after Sept. 6. At the conclusion of the on-line conference, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) will summarize the on-line conference comments and distribute the summary electronically. This on-line conference is designed for members, staff, management and volunteers of co-operatives and credit unions worldwide. It is designed to be a forum to discuss both philosophical AND practical concerns regarding the co-operative principles which define co-operative uniqueness and identity. A World Wide Web Site (WWW) will also be accessilbe. The WWW address is: http://cnet.unb.ca/cspace/projects/pages/coop. With financial support from the Community Access Project (CAP) of Industry Canada, CCA will work in partnership with the University of New Brunswick. UNB will provide the technical support for the on-line conference and the CCA will moderate the conference discussion and summarize the conference. DISCUSSION TOPICS There will be three topics for discussion during the on-line conference. The full (draft) Statement on Co-operative Identity is outlined below. 1. Statement on Co-operative Identity: general comments on the Statement or the definition, values and principles of co-operatives are invited. Comments on specific principles, such as "Member Economic Participation", are also encouraged. 2. A seventh principle on "community" has been added. How do you think co- operatives can or should implement this principle in their work? 3. What role does information technology, such as the Internet, play with respect to the principles - particularly the principles of "education"; "co-operation amongst co-operatives", and "community"? The International Co-operative Alliance STATEMENT ON THE CO-OPERATIVE IDENTITY DRAFT Definition A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. Values Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others. Principles The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice. 1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination. 2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote), and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner. 3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. They usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co- operative; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co- operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership. 4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co- operative autonomy. 5th Principle: Education, Training and Information Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation. 6th Principle: Co-operation Among Co-operatives Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co- operative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures. 7th Principle: Concern for Community While focusing on member needs and wishes, co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities. HOW TO JOIN THE CONFERENCE To join the conference all you need is a modem and an Internet e-mail address. If you're not sure whether you have an Internet e-mail address, please ask your technical or computer support staff. To join, or "subscribe" to the on-line conference, all you have to do is send an e- mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org In the body of the message type: Subscribe coopvalu <your e-mail address> Example: Subscribe coopvalu email@example.com Do not write anything in the subject line of your e-mail message. Once you have subscribed, any comments or information posted to the conference will automatically come to your e-mail address each day. Check your mail daily, if possible, for e-mail messages. If you have any technical questions on getting connected, please contact Patti Kirby by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Type "TECH" in the subject line of your message for easy identification. If you would prefer to talk to someone about technical issues, please telephone Dwight Spencer at (506) 453-4614. All other questions can be directed to Carol Hunter at: email@example.com (Telephone: 613-238-6711; Fax: 613-567-0658). After you subscribe to the conference you will automatically receive an online information package with information on online etiquette ("netiquette"), directions for posting comments to the conference, unsubscribing, and directions for accessing our HomePage on the World Wide Web.