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Specialised Bodies - ICA Research Committee at Values in a Global Context (1998)

August, 1998
(Source: ICA News, Issue No. 3/1998, pp. 6)

Specialised Bodies
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ICA Research Committee at Values in a Global Context
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A total of 50 participants from 20 countries attended the ICA Research Committee's Annual Conference which was held at the University of Cork's Centre for Co-operative Studies from 13 to 17 May, 1998.

The theme of the conference, "Developing Value Based Practices and Adding Economic Value", raised considerable interest. The changes in the agricultural sector, e.g. the economic options taken by societies in Canada which are issuing stocks, and the shift in farmers' expectations regarding their membership, were analysed in several papers from Sweden, Norway and Canada.

A workshop on consumer co-operatives and globalisation highlighted experiences from Japan, Spain and the United States. Social audit, co-operative identity and semantics were discussed during two sessions on Trust that brought forth a wide range of views and perspectives presented by authors from the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden and Israel.

Workers' co-ops today represent a thriving and expanding sector. The service-oriented nature of workers' co-ops that are often leaders in care professions, was stressed in presentations from United Kingdom, Sweden and Finland.

The special workshop on Development and Training organised with the assistance of the ICA Global Human Resource Development Committee, focused on the need for investment in education by co-operative organisations.

Presentations on the financial mutuals in Greece and the commitment of the state to their development, the credit unions in Canada, and the re-organised co-ops in Poland and Russia, raised many questions as to the viability of the co-op model and its relationship with authorities. Research in the Eastern and Central European countries has been suffering for years from limited resources. This may have serious consequences for the future of the co-operative sector in these countries.

The next meeting will be held in Paris in October 1998. The theme is Women, Entrepreneurship and Co-ops. This conference is being organised by the ICA Research Committee in association with the ICA Global Women's Committee and will bring together researchers and development workers to report on research and best practice.