Activities Undertaken for International Co-operative Day 1995

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   This document has been made available in electronic format
           by the International Co-operative Alliance.
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       International Day of Co-operatives, 6 July 1996

                                             Background Note #5
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   Summary of Activities Undertaken at National Level on the
       Occasion of International Co-operative Day 1995 
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It may be of interest to co-operative movements planning the
observance of International Co-operative Day in 1996 to know
something of the activities which took place last year.

Information on national activities was relayed to the United
Nations Focal Point on Cooperatives by the UN/Development Liaison
Officer of the International Co-operative Alliance(ICA) and by
the United Nations Department for Public Information.  It is
known from these sources that the Day was observed and
celebrations organized in almost all countries whose co-operative
movements were members of ICA.  Detailed material was received
in respect of the following countries: Argentina, Bangladesh,
Czech Republic, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt,
Fiji, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kuwait,
Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Portugal, Romania and
Turkey, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

In Canada and the United States observance was limited because,
traditionally, the co-operative movement celebrates during
October.  

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Actions taken by National Legislatures
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In Argentina the International Day was celebrated in part by a
ceremony held on 5 July 1995 in the House of Deputies (Camara de
Deputadas de la Naci"n), whose Commission for the Economy and
Regional Development formally created a Sub-commission on
Co-operative Affairs (Subcomisi"n de Asuntos Cooperativos).  The
Sub-commission was perceived by the national co-operative
movement as likely to become an efficient means whereby it could
bring its concerns to the attention of the legislature.

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Actions taken by Heads of State and Governments
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The Head of State of Bangaldesh sent a message of support to the
country's co-operative movement. Messages were sent to national
co-operative movements by the Head of Government in Bangladesh
and in Fiji by the Minister of Finance.  Ministers attended
events organized by national co-operative movements in
observation of the International Day: in Egypt, the Ministers of
Agriculture and Housing; in Malaysia the Minister of Land and
Co-operative Development; and in Myanmar (where the International
Day was celebrated for the first time since 1962) the Minister
for Co-operatives and other Ministers.  Ministers also attended
national celebrations in Kuwait. 

Governmental agencies responsible for the promotion and
development of co-operative enterprises in a number of countries
undertook a programme of activities in observance of the
International Day.  In Morocco, for example, the Prime Minister's
Economic Development Office widely diffused the relevant General
Assembly resolutions and the ICA's message; promoted full
coverage in the press; organized a round table on national radio
and coverage in regional radio programmes as well as a special
programme on national television. In Cyprus special stamps, and
in Mauritius a commemorative cover, were issued by the postal
authorities. 

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Actions taken by Political Parties
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In Bangladesh and the Russian Federation a number of leaders and
representatives of political parties outside the Government
transmitted congratulatory messages to the national co-operative
movement.

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Actions taken by Co-operative Movements
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Celebrations organized by national-level co-operative
organizations and institutions: These were held in almost all
countries for which information was received.  They often took
the form of popular festivities which included such events as
rallies, public assemblies, sports events, competitions,
exhibitions and concerts.  At many of them awards were given, for
example, to "Co-operators of the Year", leading women
co-operators,  best co-operatives, best young persons'
co-operatives, and winners of photographic and essay-writing
competitions organized by the co-operative movement.  In Myanmar
overhead banners celebrating the Day and the ICA were hung
throughout the capital.  In Malaysia more than 3,000 persons
attended the celebration organized by the National Co-operative
Organization of Malaysia (Angkatan Koperasi Kebangsaan Malaysia
Berhad).

Special attention was devoted to young persons: university
seminars, school events and children's competitions focused on
the role of co-operatives in society were organised in all
regions.

At many of these celebrations co-operative enterprises and
organizations took the opportunity of explaining their
activities, demonstrating their services and selling their
products to the general public. They also took the opportunity
to strengthen dialogue with governments, as in Argentina, India,
Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Romania, Senegal and Sri Lanka. In the
latter, co-operative organizations presented recommended
amendments to co-operative legislation.

In a number of countries celebrations were used by the
co-operative movement to hold working meetings of a strategic and
operational nature.  This was so in the Czech Republic.In Italy,
representatives of members of the three national co-operative
organizations (AGCI, Confcooperative and Lega) active in the
region of Tuscany organized a joint meeting in Florence. 
Political leaders, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church,
universities, schools, trade unions and other social
organizations also attended.  At this meeting a new society was
established: 'Club 45', named after Article 45 of the Italian
constitution which recognizes the distinct role of the
co-operative movement in national society.  Its purpose will be
to support unification among the different co-operative
movements, and to undertake surveys and studies, in collaboration
with universities and schools, on co-operative development.

In Japan the opportunity was used by the agricultural
co-operative movement to bring together representatives of
national level organizations of agricultural co-operatives with
those of national organizations of cooperative insurance
enterprises and cooperative banks.  In Malaysia a seminar was
held on opportunities for small and medium-sized industrial
co-operatives, at which papers were presented by specialists from
a number of relevant ministries. 

                LOCAL AND REGIONAL CELEBRATIONS

These were held by groups of co-operatives and by sub-regional
and regional co-operative organizations in most countries. In
Italy, for example, the co-operative movement organized public
assemblies, meetings and seminars in numerous locations
throughout the country.  They were attended by political leaders,
government officials, university and school teachers,
representatives of social organizations, and other personalities
and leaders of public opinion.  In Parma, in the region of
Emilia-Romagna, a week of cultural events was organized which
included exhibitions and concerts.

                        SPECIAL EVENTS

These were organized by a number of national co-operative
organizations and institutions. For example, in Egypt the Higher
Institute of Agricultural Cooperation in Cairo organized a
seminar on developing relationships between the co-operative
movement in Egypt, the International Co-operative Alliance and
the United Nations. Its purpose was to explore the benefits which
co-operatives could gain from closer relationships with
international organizations, and the opportunities which might
exist for co-operative specialists from Egypt to provide
technical assistance to movements in other countries.  The
seminar was attended by the Ministers of Agriculture and of
Housing, public officials, representatives of other co-operative
organizations and the media, and a representative of ILO.

In Germany the national organization of housing co-operatives
(GdW - Gesamtverband der Wohnungswirtschaft e.V.), convinced that
the organization of assistance to co-operative movements in
developing countries was the most appropriate way to celebrate
the International Day, undertook, in conjunction with other
co-operative organizations, a campaign to raise funds in support
of a community-based self-help housing enterprise in Manila,
Philippines.  In Cyprus the Pancyprian Co-operative
Confederation, in addition to organizing a press conference,
organized a national blood donation campaign among co-operative
members, and donated the equivalent of $30,000 to the national
blood service for purchase of a vehicle. In Italy, local branches
of all three major co-operative organizations in the region of
Emilia-Romagna organized at Cattolica a meeting directed
specifically at and attended by many young people, at which a
solidarity campaign was launched in support of local Red Cross
organizations then assisting the populations of countries in
conflict, notably Yugoslavia.

                     BROAD MEDIA COVERAGE

In most countries national co-operative organizations facilitated
widespread coverage of the International Day in the national
media.  They also disseminated special editions of their own
newspapers, magazines and radio and TV broadcasts. In the Russian
Federation, for example, the Chairman of the Board of the Central
Union of Consumer Societies made a television address.

    DIFFUSION OF THE ICA'S MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE
                      INTERNATIONAL DAY

This was undertaken not only by national co-operative movements,
but by many of the official agencies for public information and
broadcasting.

Wide dissemination of the message of the Secretary-General of the
United Nations and of the resolutions of the United Nations
General Assembly:  The message of the Secretary-General, issued
in English, French and Spanish, was translated where appropriate
by national co-operative movements into most local languages and
diffused widely by national media, including media owned by the
co-operative movement itself.  It was read out at most national
level celebrations, on some occasions by a representative of a
United Nations system organization (UNDP Resident Representative
or Head of the United Nations Information Office).

In many cases co-operative organizations issued press releases
and held press conferences at which they distributed the
messages, resolutions and background information provided by the
United Nations Departments for Public Information and Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development.  In the Marche region
of Italy, for example, one of the major co-operative
organizations organized meetings designed to make co-operative
members and others from local communities better aware of the
work undertaken by the United Nations in support of co-operative
enterprise.

There is every reason to believe that through these channels the
Secretary-General's message, together with the message of the
ICA, reached a substantial proportion of the 760,000,000
individual members of the ICA, as well as of their immediate
family and household members: a total exceeding half of the
world's population.