World Overview (1996)

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

            (Source : ICA News 4-5/1996, pp.8-9)


                         World Overview
                         **************

Korea
******

NACF Acts as NGO for the World Food Summit
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The National Agricultural Co-operative Federation of Korea has
taken part in various international activities relating to the
World Food Summit to be held in Rome, Italy during November
this year. The NACF has assisted in merging co-operatives'
view in the drafting of the Policy Statement and Plan of
Action.

Churll-Hee Won, Chairman and President of NACF, delivered a
special speech entitled `Food Security and Family Farming' at
the meeting of the ICA Committee on Agriculture for Asia and
Pacific in Malaysia.

NACF was represented at the World Farmers' Congress in
Versailles organised by IFAP in April this year and at the
Spring NGO meeting for Asia and Pacific in Bangkok. It also
participated at the FAO Regional Conference in Apia, West
Samoa in May and intends to send representatives to attend the
general meeting of ICA-ICAO, the World Family Farmers' Summit
and the World Food Summit in Rome in November.

Russia
******

Consumer Co-ops in Russia
-------------------------
In August Centrosoyus of the Russian Federation invited ICA's
European Chairman, Lars Hillbom, and Director-General, Bruce
Thordarson, for a week-long study visit to see the current
situation facing consumer co-operatives in Russia.

During visits with regional co-operative leaders in Novgorod
in the north and Krasnodar in the south, the ICA officials
were able to see at first-hand the role which co-operatives
are playing in providing basic food stuffs to some 55 million
people in the rural areas and small towns. However, given the
falling income levels in these areas, and the need to sell
goods on credit, few rural co-operatives are able to be
profitable these days. As a result, the consumer co-operatives
continue to rely on various forms of state assistance through
annual agreements at national and regional levels.  

The ICA officials concluded that this support was fully
justified during this transition stage in the Russian economy,
although it must be accompanied by continued efforts to
improve the managerial efficiency and member participation in
the co-operatives. In follow-up letters to the Russian
President, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the State Duma,
they requested early passage of amendments to the current law
on consumer co-operatives, which would prevent the sell-off of
co-operative property by ensuring that co-operative property
belongs to the co-operatives as juridical persons, as is now
allowed under the new Russian Civil Code.

Switzerland
************

25 years of Environmental Concern 
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Protection of the environment has been included in the
statutes of Coop Switzerland since 1973. Since then,
priorities have been defined, directives have been given and
plans are now implemented, designed to preserve water
resources, reduce packaging and energy consumption, eliminate
CFCs, collect used batteries, promote recycling, and introduce
into the Co-op stores a wide range of ecological products.

Coop Switzerland has engaged in an extensive education
campaign. It recognizes that environmental protection can only
begin by individual awareness. Safeguarding the environment is
the concern for every one. Information material, such as
brochures, pamphlets and colouring books for children have
therefore been produced and articles regularly appear in the
Coop's weekly magazine (in French, Germany and Italian)  as
well as in a magazine designed for staff with environmental
responsibilities - Coop Ecorama.

Environmental logos  provide quick and easily recognizable
information to consumers. These include for non- food items,
CoopNaturaline and CoopECOplan and food items CoopNATURAplan
indicating organic production.

Coop Switzerland has published an Environment Report for 1995
tracing how it has realized its commitment to the environment
over the last 25 years. Copies are available in French and
German from Coop Switzerland, Public Relations, Postfach 2550,
4002, Basel, Switzerland.

(Coop rapport sur l'environnement 1995)


United Kingdom
**************

Top Line-up for Fifth UKCC Forum
--------------------------------
The UKCC Forum, which is a unique occasion in the co-operative
calendar, brings together representatives from the
co-operative sector in the UK, will be held at New Century
House, Manchester, 22-23 November, 1996.

Frank Field, MP; Baroness Cumberlege; Gavin Grant of the Body
Shop; Brian Davis of Nationwide Building Society; Alan Sneddon
of the Co-operative Insurance Society and Sara Parkin,
formerly of the Green Party will be the keynote speakers.
Frank Field, Chairman of the Select Committee on Social
Security and former opposition spokesman on Education will be
the after dinner speaker on Friday evening.

Lord Carter, Chairman of UKCC and opposition spokesman in the
House of Lords will open the Forum, followed by a review of
current opportunities for co-operative sectors by Peter
Walker, the Chief Executive of UKCC.

Sara Parkin, Director, Forum for the Future, will look at how
the co-operatives can best turn the recently adopted 7th
Principle of ICA, 'Concern for Community' into reality. David
Thompson, former Vice President of the National Co-operative
Business Association and Director of National Co-operative
Bank, will give a presentation on Co-operatives in America. To
get a copy of the Forum programme and booking form, contact
the UKCC, c/o The Co-operative Bank plc, 1, Balloon Street,
Manchester M60 4EP; Tel. 0161-829-5355; Fax: 0161-832-9707.

Labour Leader Opens New CRS Headquarters
----------------------------------------
Labour Party leader, Tony Blair officially opened the
Co-operative Retail Society's new 20 million headquarters in
Rochdale, on 29th August, 1996. The CRS venture is the single
largest investment of its kind in Rochdale in the last 50
years. 

- Co-operative News, August 6, 1996