News from the Americas

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

Source : ICA News 1/1996


                 News from the Americas . . .  
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Strategic Alliances Conference
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The promotion of trade, joint ventures and investment between
co-operatives was the theme bringing together more than 700
co-operators from mainly Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada
and the U.S. for the annual Regional Conference of the
Americas on 6-8 December 1995 in Miami, Florida.

In addition to briefing delegates on the current political,
economic and social conditions in Latin America, international
experts from the public and private sector, academia and the
co-operative movement analyzed the potential of co-operatives
forming strategic alliances for meeting the challenges of
today's global economy.  

Sectoral and specialized workshops were also held, giving
participants the opportunity to share their experiences in
forming partnerships and to discuss possible areas of
collaboration.  Moreover, co-operative sponsored luncheons,
trade stands and an individualized business meetings session
set the stage for a conference aimed pragmatically at
fostering co-operative business.

The 1996 Regional Conference, whose theme will be
"De-globalization:  Global Challenges, Local Responses," is
being planned for 20 - 22 November 1996 in San Joss, Costa Rica.
It will be followed by the Second Regional Assembly of the Americas 
on 23 November.

Co-operatives, A Question of People
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On 4-6 June 1996, co-operative experts in Human Resource
Development (HRD) will converge on Lima, Peru, for a
Continental Forum that will culminate in the final draft of a
continental HRD strategy.

Since receiving its mandate to focus on the area of HRD from
the 1st Regional Assembly of the Americas in August 1994, the
Regional Office of the Americas, in collaboration with
regional experts, has been developing a continental strategy
for HRD to be included in the Strategic Plan for 1996-2000. 
The final strategy document will be presented for formal
adoption at the 2nd Regional Assembly of the Americas in
December 1996.

This preliminary phase of strategic formulation is being
sponsored by the Swedish Co-operative Center (SCC), the
Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), the European-funded
PROCOOPCA, and the COOPNET  Programme of the International
Labour Office (ILO).

The HRD strategy has the following components:  the creation
of a computerized information network through Internet;
support for the formulation and implementation of HRD plans in
co-operatives; the exchange and marketing of innovative
products for HRD; support for incorporating the gender
perspective in co-operatives; and work with co-operative
youth.

Regional Gender Campaign
************************

This year's International Women's Day, 8 March 1996, will mark
the launching of the regional campaign "Women, How Many Are
We, and What Do We Want?" with special ceremonies taking place
in Panama, El Salvador and Costa Rica, and national workshops
in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.

This campaign, coordinated by the Regional Office of the
Americas' Gender in Co-operatives programme, is aimed at
increasing the visibility of women's participation at both the
base and sectoral levels of the co-operative movement in the
Americas.  Moreover, the  "How Many Are We, and What Do We
Want" campaign initiates a process of reflection on the
interests and aspirations of women within the co-operative
movement in terms of economics, politics, culture, family and
participation.  

At the national level, information will be disseminated  and
statistics will be collected on the level of participation of
women in the co-operative movement, and women co-operators
will be surveyed in order to develop a national platform
representing women's interests. 

This process will culminate in the creation and adoption of a
Continental Women's Platform at the Continental Women's Forum
to be held 18 - 19 November 1996 in San Jose, Costa Rica, just
prior to the Regional Conference and Regional Assembly of the
Americas.

Business with the Latin American Co-ops 
***************************************

The Regional Office for the Americas continues its publication
of the series "Doing Business with the Co-operatives of Latin
America" with new books planned this year for the following
countries:  Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia,
Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. 

These books serve as practical guides to doing business with
the co-operative sector in Latin America, providing a
synthesis of the economic, political and legal situation in
each country; a survey of export and investment incentives; an
analysis of the co-operative sector by economic activity; and
valuable leads on potential business opportunities with
specific co-operatives.

Guidebooks are currently available for the following
countries:  Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El
Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil.