News from the Regions (1996)

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

          (Source: ICA News, Issue No.6, 1996, pp.4-5)

                    News from the Regions


Top Women Farm Leaders Meet
The Asian Regional Conference of Top Level Women Farm Leaders was
jointly organised by the ICA ROAP, the Japanese Central Union of
Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-ZENCHU), the Institute for the
Development of Agricultural Co-operation in Asia (IDACA), and the
Afro-Asian Rural Reconstruction Organisation (AARRO) in Tokyo
from 20 to 26 October 1996. Over 100 participants, from 25
countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana,
India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of
Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan,
Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam and
five international organisations (FAO, ILO, AARRO, IFAP and ICA)
attended the Conference. The participants included 44 observers
of JA prefectural women's associations in Japan.

The objectives of the conference were to exchange views and
experiences on the role of rural women in agricultural
co-operatives and on measures taken to raise the living standards
of rural women engaged in the agricultural sector through income
generating activities and better working conditions.

Asian Medical Co-ops Meet
The second meeting of Medical Co-operatives from the Asia-Pacific
region was held at Mumbai (Bombay), India from 2-3 November,
1996. Twenty-eight delegates from India, Japan, Nepal, Republic
of Korea and Sri Lanka participated at the meeting which was
chaired by Dr. S. Kato, chairperson of the International Health
Co-operative Organisation. The main item of discussion was the
formation of an Asia-Pacific Health Co-operative Organisation
(APHCO) and its relationship with the IHCO. The forum appointed
a working committee consisting of Dr. Ogino from Japan, Dr. Vijay
Deshmukh from India and Lionel Samarasinghe from Sri Lanka to
draft the constitution for the organisation. The committee
subsequently met on 26 December to draft the constitution, which
will be discussed at the next meeting in March 1997. The general
meeting of the committee will be held in the latter part of 1997.

During the proceedings of the meeting, there were several
proposals for the bilateral exchange of medical practitioners as
well as a technical co-operation programme among developed and
developing countries in the region. 

ICA Organises Youth  Seminar
ICA ROAP held a regional seminar on Youth Co-operatives in
Singapore from 21-23 November 1996, in collaboration with the
National Federation of University Co-operative Associations
(NFUCA), Japan and the Singapore National Co-operative Federation

The seminar brought together 250 delegates from Thailand,
Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea,
Philippines and Singapore. The seminar discussed youth issues in
the Asia-Pacific region and the potential of co-operatives to
integrate youth into the main stream of development as well as
setting up of youth co-operatives in the region. Co-operative
identity and leadership formed the major part of the discussions.
Dr. Aline Wong, Senior Minister of State for Education in
Singapore was expected to inaugurate the seminar.

Agri-business Symposium
ICA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific held a symposium on
the Impact of Globalization on the Competitive Strength of
Agri-business Co-operatives in Asia and the Pacific from 30
November to 1 December 1996 at Yangon, Myanmar. About 30
delegates participated in the symposium.

Seminar on Agro-processing
A Regional seminar on agro-processing was organised by the ICA
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with
the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives
(ACFSMC) in Dalian city (China) from 11-22 November 1996. Sixteen
delegates from seven countries participated in the seminar.

The Americas

Regional Meetings
From November 18-23 San Jose, Costa Rica, was the centre of a
major series of events organised by the ICA's Regional Office for
the Americas, which brought together more than 600 co-operative
leaders from across the continent.

The first Continental Women's Meeting ever held in the Americas,
following several years of national and regional workshops, 
resulted in the adoption of a Platform of Action on Gender
Issues, much of which was subsequently incorporated into the
Regional Office's Strategic Plan for the period 1996-2000.
This meeting was followed by a three-day Regional Conference on
the theme of "De-globalisation", featuring a variety of
high-level presentations on the economic challenges facing
co-operatives in the Americas, as well as strategies for the

The Regional Assembly for the Americas, held on 23 November under
the chairmanship of Roberto Rodrigues, President of ICA-Americas,
formally approved the Regional Office's new Strategic Plan, as
well as a revised set of Rules for the Regional Assembly. 

The Assembly will henceforth be composed of representatives of
the Specialised Organisations in the region, in addition to
representatives of ICA member organisations.  

Members also approved the creation of a new position of Alternate
President for the Americas, to which Miguel Cardozo of Uruguay
was elected.

The 1997 Regional Conference, to be held in Mexico, will feature 
the themes of youth in co-operatives and the role of
co-operatives in providing employment. The 1998 Regional
Assembly will be held in Uruguay.


Regional Assembly
The Second ICA Regional Assembly for Europe was held in Budapest,
Hungary, on 30 October 1996 under the chairmanship of Lars
Hillbom, ICA Vice-President. The meeting was attended by 180
representatives and observers. 

The Assembly  was preceded by an International Seminar organized
jointly with IRU on financial co-operatives, which had a large
participation from Central and Eastern European co-operative
movements, and by several specialised organisations' meetings.

Laszlo Lakos, Minister of Agriculture, himself a co-operative
member, welcomed participants on behalf of the Hungarian
Government and the message of the Prime Minister was read out.
The head of the NGO section of the Council of Europe, Geza Mezei
attended the Assembly as a special guest. 

In his address, Graham Melmoth, President of ICA, referred to
activities going on in other regions as well as at global ICA

The Regional Assembly adopted the activity report on 1996 and the
work plan for 1997, welcomed two new members to the Region, the
co-operative apex organisations from Malta and Bosnia-
Herzegovina, discussed and approved a report prepared by the
Working Group on Assistance to Central and Eastern Europe.

After the procedural matters, the afternoon session was devoted
to the topic of "Corporate Governance and Management Control
Systems in European Co-operatives" based on the background paper
drafted by Reimer Volkers and Moira Lees. Six speakers - I.
Barberini (Italy), P. Bartus (Hungary), R. Itkonen (Finland), A.
Nicolaisen (Denmark), E. Pflimlin (France) and S. Sivertsen
(Norway)- touched upon various aspects of the main theme, such
as internal and external controls, gender aspects, management
control experiences of a country in transition, auditors'
responsibilities related to reports to members, and technical and
democratic controls in co-operative banks.

The discussion was facilitated by Lloyd Wilkinson, CEO of the
Co-operative Union, UK. A final statement was distributed and
adopted by the Assembly serving as guidelines for co-operative
movements in their follow-up work on Governance issues.

The Assembly confirmed the nomination of Lars Hillbom to the post
of ICA Vice-President and accepted the invitation of the French
co-operative movement (GNC) to hold the next Regional Assembly
for Europe in France in autumn 1998.