World Overview (1997)

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This document has been made available in electronic
format by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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June, 1997
(Source: ICA News, Issue No.3/1997- pp.3,6-7)

World Overview
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Canada : SWP Reports Landmark Year
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Canada's largest co-operative, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, increased
its net earnings in 1996 by 48 percent to 48.4 million Canadian 
dollars.  It also successfully completed its conversion into a 
"publicly-traded co-operative". Under its equity conversion 
programme, existing member share capital was converted into 
Class A (voting) and Class B(non-voting) shares.  The Class B 
shares, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, increased in value 
during the year.  Class A shares are held only by active farmer-
members in order to maintain member control.  Revenue-wise, SWP 
is now the 54th largest company in Canada. 

(Source Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Annual Report, 1996)

India : News from The Link
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The Central Registrar of Co-operative Societies has exempted 
the NCUI and its President from Sections 36 & 37 of the Multi 
State Co-operative Societies Act.

Kerala High Court stays a Government ordinance disbanding the 
Boards of 14 District Co-operative Banks in response to a petition 
filed by the affected Boards.

The Uttar Pradesh Government has enhanced the Registrar's powers
while severely curbing co-operative autonomy.

Tamilnadu Government has announced intentions to amend the State 
Co-operative Act.

31 Gujarat co-ops are reported to be affected by the CRB scam.

GOA co-operators unanimously decry draft new Goa State 
Co-operative Societies Act and demand a public debate.

For the full story, please contact: Sudarshan Srinivas, Managing 
Editor, The Link, C.I.P. Secretariat, IRMA Campus, PB No 60, 
Anand 388 001, Gujarat, India. Fax: (02692) 40188; E-mail srini@fac.irm.ernet.in: 
website: http://irma.irm.ernet.in/~cip/ciphome.html

(Source The Link, June 1997) 

Indonesia : Exhibition Celebrates Year of Co-ops
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An Exhibition on International Co-operative and Small and 
Medium Enterprises (SMEs) took place in Jakarta in July 1997 
as part of a series of events to mark the Year of Co-operatives 
declared by President Soeharto in commemoration of the 50th 
anniversary of the Indonesian Co-operative Movement. Over 
500 co-ops and SMEs from 27 Indonesian provinces and 100 from 
15 other countries participated in the exhibition
which was officially opened by the President and supported by 
ICAROAP during the Ministerial Meeting in April 1997.  
For more details, visit the exhibition home page:
http://www.rekkamedia.com/cooperative97.

(Source REKKA Media E-mail)

Japan : Quake Victims Link Hands
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Although still struggling to recover from the earthquake 
which hit Kobe in 1995, Co-op Kobe mobilised its local 
volunteer centre and raised ,912,771 yen to help residents 
of Yunnan Province in mainland China which was struck by an 
earthquake on 3 February of 1996. This money was combined 
with contributions from the local NGO Liaison Committee for
the Relief of Victims from the Kobe earthquake, the YMCA, 
the International Co-operation Centre and other groups to total 
of 22,230,000 yen, which was used for the reconstruction of five 
elementary schools destroyed in the quake.  These are now 
consolidated into one complex which has been named the Li 
Jiang Friendship Centre Elementary School to commemorate the 
growing friendship between the two countries. The aid programme, 
as well as a series of cultural exchanges between schools in
Japan and China have also strengthened ties.

(Source Co-op Japan Information, June 1997)

Co-ops Help With Oil Spill Clean-up
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The Japan Joint Committee of Co-operatives donated 2.6 million 
yen to the Conference Against the Oil Spill Disaster, a group 
established by ZENGYOREN, JCCU,  ZENCHU and seven other societies, 
to help local fishermen and residents remove oil following a Russian oil tanker spill off the Japanese coast in January 1996. Many co-ops 
established links with people in the affected areas and offered 
to help. For example, Co-op Sapporo in Hokkaido raised funds and 
collected relief supplies and sent 15 staff members to help with the clean-up operations. Co-op Yamanashi also sent volunteers, warm clothing 
and cleaning utensils and Fukui Co-op of Fukui Prefecture sent a 
volunteer to serve meals and provide relief supplies to those 
involved in the clean-up.

(Source Co-op Japan Information, June 1997)

Kazakhstan : Kazak Co-operators Visit Geneva
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A delegation from co-operatives in Kazakhstan visited the ICA 
Secretariat in Geneva in July 1997 to discuss working methods 
in Western Europe, financial management and the promotion of 
membership. The visitors met with Bruce Thordarson, Director-General, to discuss the principle aims of the organisation, with Mats Ahnlund to
discuss member services and with Alina Pawlowska, who presented 
the database project on statistics.

The visitors particularly appreciated a visit to Coop Geneva's 
Distribution centre and discussions with Mr. Lechaire, Director 
of Coop Geneva, on competition and development strategy.

Kazakhstan has developed a dynamic co-operative movement. The
consumer co-operatives, which are to be found in rural areas, 
manage a huge network of stores and distribution centres, together 
with enterprises for the transformation of agricultural 
products and restaurants.

Owing to inflation and privatisation, the movement's market share
dropped from 30% in 1990 to 6% in 1996. Its main priority is to
overcome the crisis and to adapt to the environment where 
competition has become a keyword in order to provide the best 
service possible to its members.

Korea :  NACF Training Courses
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The National Agricultural Co-operative Federation (NACF) of Korea 
Will organise a two-week international training course on 
agricultural marketing for 20 participants in late September. 
The course, which will be sponsored by NACF and the Korean Government, is part of an ongoing programme supported by the government.  The last 
event under the programme was a training course on rural 
development and agricultural co-operative management held at the 
Agricultural Co-operative College in April and May this year, 
which included participants from Indonesia, Iran, Sri Lanka,
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Butan, Nepal, Mongolia, Senegal, Gabon
and Honduras.

(Source NACF e-mail)

Moldavia :  ICA Europe Visit to Moldova
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Gabriella Sozanski, Secretary of the European Council, visited 
Moldova in June after the consumer movement requested ICA assistance
in lobbying the government and parliament of  Moldova in support 
of a newly proposed law on co-operatives. Ms. Sozanski met the Vice 
Prime Minister, Valerij Bulgaru, the deputy speaker of the Parliament, Dumitro
Djakov and the chairman of the Parliamentary Commission in charge of co-
operative legislation, Ion Curkanu. Visits were also arranged to the Co-operative Commercial University, Co-op hospital, as well as to 
various enterprises belonging to the movement. Co-op societies in 
Moldova are still restricted to the rural areas where they provide 
64% of the population with consumer goods.

Philippines : MacPherson Meets Philippine Co-operators
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Dr. Ian MacPherson, an internationally recognised authority on 
co-ops who led the ICA's latest review of co-operative principles, 
was the keynote speaker at the 20th general assembly of the 
Philippines' National Confederation of Co-operatives (NATCCO) 
held  in May. The assembly in Tagaytay City,  south of Manila, 
had the theme "Philippine Co-ops into the 21st Century."  NATCCO 
is the country's biggest national federation of co-ops in terms of 
geographical reach, membership, financial base and array of services.
It now has more than 1,700 affiliate co-ops with about a million
people comprising the membership base. 

(Source NATCCO e-mail)

Russia :  Centrosoyus is First to Achieve Gender Balance
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In 1995, the ICA General Assembly adopted a resolution, "Gender
Equality in Co-operatives" which called for the improvement of 
Gender balance in co-operatives. The ICA Board in 1996 called on 
the ICA President to write to and to ask member organisations to 
formally plan to increase the representation of women at all levels. 

The ICA Secretariat is happy to announce that Centrosoyus of Russia
is the first ICA member organisation to register a gender-balanced 
delegation of representatives to the ICA General Assembly. Eight 
women and eight men will vote in the election of the ICA President, 
Vice-Presidents, Board Members and Audit and Control Committee.  
In this way, Centrosoyus has concretely contributed to increasing 
women's participation in ICA decision-making.  

On the Eve of the 3rd Millennium
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The 5th General Assembly of the Russian Federation of Consumer 
Co-ops was held in Kirov 31 July - 1 August. The participants 
discussed the social and economic problems facing consumer 
co-operation and adopted the following appeal to Russian co-operators. Russian consumer co-operatives face decreasing retail turnover, procurement 
of agricultural products and raw materials, and production. Many 
co-operatives have lost assets and are in debt; two thirds finished 
last year with losses. A radical modernisation of corporate 
governance and management control is necessary. A new Federal Law, 
on "consumer co-operation in the Russian Federation," passed in 
July 1997, states that consumer co-operation is recognised by and 
protected by the Russian State. The Law outlines reforms, including 
the promotion of the members' role in decision-making,  modernisation of governance and control structures, and strengthening leaders' 
responsibilities and discipline.  To conform with the law, Consumer 
societies will form new governing and executive bodies to
increase membership, ensure strict control over the management of co-
operative organisations and enterprises and improve the quality of
leadership.

(Source Centrosoyus, Moscow, 6 August 1997

Slovakia : Producer Co-op "Best Supplier" for IKEA
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The Slovak Producer Co-operative Society "KNK" in Lubietova has
received the 1996 award as "Best Supplier for IKEA," accompanied 
by a prize of 100,000 Swedish Crowns. The 240-employee co-operative 
has been supplying furniture accessories to IKEA for eight years, 
with sales rising from 3 million to 12 million Swedish crowns during that period.

(Source: Slovak Co-operative News, issue no. 1, 1997)

Switzerland :  Coop Switzerland and Organic Products
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Coop Switzerland has recently inaugurated a web site providing
information on its product line - NaturaPlan - of organic and
environmentally-friendly products.  The product line has been a 
success with consumers in Switzerland and is being expanded.  
NaturaPlan products are expected to cover 15-20% market share 
by 1998, representing a turnover of CHF 400 million 
(approx. USD 250 million).

For information on Coop NaturaPlan, see the Co-op Switzerland 
web site: http://www.coop.ch

United Kingdom : Top Speakers for UKCC Forum
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Graham Melmoth, President of ICA and Chief Executive of CWS (UK) is
to be a keynote speaker at the UK Co-operative Council's Annual 
Forum at the CIS Headquarters in Manchester on 21-22 November.
Places can be reserved in writing from Peter Walker, Chief Executive, 
UKCC, c/o The Co-operative Bank plc, 1 Balloon Street, Manchester M60 4EP.