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ICA President Addresses International Organisations (1998)

August, 1998
(Source: ICA News, Issue No. 3/1998, pp1-2)

ICA President Addresses International organisations
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ICA President Meets UNCTAD Secretary-General
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Roberto Rodrigues met with Rubens Ricupero, the Secretary-General of the Untied Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 11 June at the UNCTAD offices at the UN Building in Geneva.

Given the shared interests of co-operatives and UNCTAD in trade and development issues, the ICA President proposed several potential areas of collaboration, including communications technology and trade, small and medium enterprise development, rural credit, and human resource development. He also informed the Secretary-General of the continuing collaboration between the International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), through ICA, and the UNCTAD Standing Committee on Developing Services Sectors (Insurance).

As a result of the visit, the ICA was invited to participate as an observer in a workshop on Agricultural Trade in the Multilateral Framework: Latin America and Caribbean Perspectives, jointly organised by the Latin American Economic System (SELA) and UNCTAD.

The workshop was held in Geneva at the end of June. The ICA was represented by Americo Utumi (ICA Advisor), Gilman V. Rodrigues (Vice President of the Confederacao National do Agricultura) and MariaElena Chavez, ICA Director of UN/NGO Relations. The ICA presentation focused on the need for governments to include consultation with the private sector - including co-operatives - prior to determining their negotiating positions in the upcoming World Trade Organization's (WTO) agricultural negotiations.

The meeting aimed at sharing information on the effects of the Uruguay Round commitments on agriculture and identified potential issues to be addressed in the 1999 agriculture negotiations.

The ICA secretariat is presently following up with the UNCTAD secretariat to identify other areas of collaboration.

Roberto Rodrigues Addresses ILO
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ICA President Roberto Rodrigues spoke on 10 June to the 86th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva. Noting that ICA's permanent observer status with ILO dates back to the very founding of the ILO, he stressed that co-operatives share the ILO's concern for social justice and for a more equitable distribution of the results of globalisation. This in turn has lead to a number of joint programmes and activities.

He emphasised the important role which co-operatives, as economic bodies, play in creating employment, which was recognised in several of the documents prepared for the annual session.

The ICA President concluded by calling for a revision of Recommendation 127, the ILO document dealing with co-operatives which was adopted in 1966. In view of the new economic and social conditions in which co-operatives are now operating, he said that a new Recommendation 127 would form the basis for an even more effective working partnership between ILO and the co-operative movement.

ICA President Visits World Trade Organisation
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Roberto Rodrigues met in Geneva on 9 June with Ambassador Nestor Osorio, President of the Agricultural Committee of the World Trade Organization. The ICA President emphasised the importance of considering agricultural co-operatives' views and interests during WTO discussions and negotiations, given the fact that agricultural co-operatives are responsible for nearly one-third of total agricultural turnover in the world. The ICA President also proposed that the ICA's International Co-operative Agricultural Organisation, under the chairmanship of Churll-Hee Won of Korea, could be an important forum to provide information and advice to the WTO.