General Assembly (1997)

This document has been made available in electronic
format by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
November 1997
(Source: ICA News, Issue No.5/6/1997)

General Assembly

ILO Welcomes ICA Collaboration 

The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Michel Hansenne, spoke at
the Opening Ceremony of the ICA General Assembly about the  commitment to economic
progress and social justice that was common to both the ILO and ICA.  He described the
ILOŐs large technical assistance programme of support to co-ops, which he said is based
on the three priorities of democracy, employment, and workers' protection.

He expressed optimism that the already considerable degree of collaboration between ILO
and ICA would grow in the future. 

ICA Elections

Two New Vice-Presidents
The General Assembly ratified on 16 September the four nominations for ICA Vice-President
as submitted by the regions.

Yang Deshou of China becomes the new Vice-President for Asia and the Pacific.  Miguel
Cardozo of Uruguay becomes Acting Vice-President for the Americas, filling the position
vacated by Roberto Rodrigues, until such time as the Americas' Regional Assembly meets to
officially elect its vice-presidential nominee.

Lars Hillbom of Sweden and Bernard Wolimbwa of Uganda were re-elected respectively as
Vice-Presidents for Europe and for Africa.

Expanded ICA Board  

As a result of the General Assembly's decision to expand the size of the ICA Board from
16 to 20 (including the President and four Vice-Presidents), elections were held during
the General Assembly for the other 15 positions.  

The successful candidates were: Rahaiah Baheran, Malaysia; Claude Béland, Canada;
Ousseynu Dieng, Senegal; Valentin Ermakov, Russia; Jens Heiser, Germany; Hiroshi Kohno,
Japan; Stefania Marcone, Italy; David Miller, U.S.A; Cyril Moravcik, Slovakia; Yehudah
Paz, Israel; Etienne Pflimlin, France; Ivan Prikryl, Czech Republic; B.S. Vishwanathan,
India; Lloyd Wilkinson, U.K; and Churll-Hee Won, Korea.

New Audit & Control Committee 
Elections were also held for the ICA's Audit and Control Committee.  Elected were:
Shigenori Takemoto, Japan; Wilhelm Kaltenborn, Germany; Pal Bartus, Hungary; Gun-Britt
Martensson, Sweden; and Ivar Hansen, Norway. Mr. Takemoto and Ms. Martensson fill the
vacancies created by the retirement of members Markus Schelker of Switzerland and Jacques
Moreau of France.

Seminar on Global Role of Co-ops
A special seminar on the second day of the General Assembly focussed on the global role
of co-operatives.  Introducing the topic, the chair of the session, ICA Board Member
Yehudah Paz, noted that co-operatives have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in
and influence major global issues, but that to do so requires a greater commitment and a
closer collaboration with like-minded allies.

Following an introductory speech by John Langmore of the United Nations Secretariat in
New York, leaders from ICFTU, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, IFAP,
the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, and FIIG, the Federation of
International Institutions Established in Geneva, made presentations which stressed the
potential for mutually beneficial closer collaboration between co-operatives and
institutions representing trade unions, farmers, and the civil society.

Following interventions by ICA Member Organisations and Specialised Bodies, Yehudah Paz
summarised the discussion by noting that the ideas expressed would be used by the Board
in its planning of future activities and priorities for ICA.

Millenium Congress in Quebec City

The General Assembly decided that, in conjunction with the ICA's 1999 General Assembly, a
World Co-operative Congress should also be held in order to provide opportunities for
extended participation, discussion, and publicity.  It was agreed that the theme of the
Congress will be: Adding Value to Membership - the Co-operative Challenge for the Next
Millennium. On behalf of the ICA's two Canadian member organisations, ICA Board Member
Claude Beland invited participants to Quebec City during the last two weeks of August

ICA Rules and Procedures Amended

The General Assembly approved proposals from the Board to amend the ICA Rules and
Procedures in a number of areas.  The major areas of change include:

*	Changing the objectives of ICA to include efforts to promote sustainable human
development and to promote equality between men and women in co-operatives.

* Replacing the old ICA Principles with the Statement on Co-operative Identity that was
adopted by the 1995 Manchester Congress and General Assembly.

*	Introducing a category of associate membership.

*	Increasing the size of the maximum General Assembly representation per country from 20
to 25, and increasing the size of the Board from 16 to 20.

*	Encouraging a closer working relationship between ICA and the Specialised Bodies.

The complete text of the revised ICA Rules and Procedures may be found on the ICA's Web
Site at: and will be published in written form in January 1998.

Resolutions Support Countries in Transition

The General Assembly approved three Resolutions submitted by ICA member organisations in
Russia, Bulgaria, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.), calling upon
co-operatives, governments, and international institutions to support efforts of reform,
rebuilding, and education in these countries. The Resolutions are also available on the
ICA's Web Site (

Stable Financial Situation 

The General Assembly approved the reports from the Audit and Control Committee, and from
the ICA's external auditors, concerning the financial years 1995 and 1996.  It was agreed
that the surplus of the two years, amounting to 226,317 Swiss francs, be divided as
follows: 150,000 donated to the Corpus Fund of the ICA Development Trust, becoming its
initial capital; a maximum of 50,000 allocated to restructuring of the ICA offices in
Geneva; and the remaining minimum amount of 26,317 transferred to the ICA's General

The ICA Board, having reviewed the Subscription Formula as part of its examination of the
ICA Rules, did not propose any change in the Formula, with the exception of the housing
sector, where further consultations are needed with the members involved.  

1998 Regional Assemblies

The General Assembly took note of the planned meetings of ICA's regional governing bodies
in 1998: African Regional Assembly, Lusaka, Zambia, late August; European Regional
Assembly, Paris, France, October 15-16; Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, Seoul, Korea,
late October; Americas Regional Assembly, Montevideo, Uruguay, mid November.

As decided previously by the ICA Board, the Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly in Korea will
also feature a global seminar on the theme of successful Asian co-operative experiences. 
ICA members from all regions will be invited to attend this meeting.

Over 300 Million Hear Co-op Message

Participants to the General Assembly had the opportunity to view the first ICA Video News
Release which featured agricultural coops in Kenya and discussed the role co-operatives
play in the provision of world food security. The four-and-a-half minute VNR, produced by
World Television, was distributed in its entirety or in partial form by several of the
major news distributors to approximately 200 TV stations worldwide and official estimates
show that the newsreel was seen by 300 - 400 million viewers worldwide. Plans are
underway to produce a VNR on health co-ops in Japan and to make another featuring the new
ICA President on mission in South America.