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

Source : Review of International Co-operation Vol.89, No
1/1996, 3-5.


The International Co-operative Alliance celebrated 100 years
of service to the world's co-operative federations last year
and its official organ, the ICA Review of International
Co-operation while not having reached a century, also has a
long history behind it.

The Review of International Co-operation started life as the
International Co-operative Bulletin in April 1908 with three
major aims: to collect and distribute news of the most
important events in the movement and of its progress in all
countries, to report on matters connected with the business of
the Alliance and the work of its Committees and to register
all co-operative literature as it appears and to give
summaries of all the more important works. 

The 1921 Congress Report informs us that the Bulletin
continued throughout the First World War "though somewhat
reduced in size and restricted in exact information". Efforts
were made to keep its cost within reasonable limits but, due
to increased costs of production and dispatch, it cost the
organisation over 37 percent of its overall membership income
in 1920.

The Review of International Co-operation (four issues
annually, including the Annual Report) and the ICA News (six
issues) are the current official organs of the ICA which
endeavour to continue the excellent tradition and meet the
original objectives of the Bulletin,  in addition to keeping
up the evolving needs of our ever-increasing international

To mark the Organisation's entrance into a new century the ICA
News and the Review of International Co-operation have been
given a new look for 1996, incorporating the new logo which
the ICA adopted following the Centennial Congress.

While  the original bulletin appeared in German, French and
English, the Review now appears in English and Spanish
versions only, the German issue having been discontinued many
years ago and the French issue having been discontinued in
1987 due to lack of subscriptions. 

The Review of International Co-operation is translated and
published in Spanish by INTERCOOP Editora, Argentina, and the
ICA wishes to thank this organisation for its excellent
collaboration. ICA members in Latin America, however, have
expressed a wish to receive the ICA News in Spanish also and
the ICA has responded to this request. In 1996 the ICA News
will be translated into Spanish in Costa Rica and will be
distributed by our Regional Office for the Americas.

It is difficult to make exact comparisons. However, the
printing, translation and dispatch costs of all the ICA head
office's regular publications, including the Review (in
English) and the News (in English and Spanish), the Membership
Directory, Studies and Reports, Press Packs, Co-op Day Message
and other incidental materials account for just under 7.5
percent of the ICA's membership income for 1996.  While
realising the importance of regularly communicating with our
members, efforts are continually made to keep these charges as
low as possible without losing out in quality or speed of 

Since the Centennial Congress, many ICA staff have expressed
the need for further channels through which they can inform
the ICA Board and indeed the ICA membership in general about
the extensive and new initiatives in which the Secretariat is
engaged. The Annual Report is one vehicle for communicating
the Secretariat's work, but it is not an adequate platform for
giving sufficient detail about the various projects.
Therefore, the ICA Director-General agreed that the ICA Review
could be used more extensively to cover different aspects of
the Secretariat's work.

This issue, therefore, includes a number of articles by
several members of the head office staff, including special
sections on health co-operatives and gender issues within
co-operatives. Staff members have also contributed articles on
Development and on the Priorities of ICA Europe, as well as 
several book reviews.

In addition to the New Year Message from the new ICA
President, Graham Melmoth of CWS (UK), this issue also focuses
on the Internet and the new electronic information technology
and its implications for co-operatives. Reflecting our concern
that this new medium becomes a useful tool for all our
members, including those from the developing world, we have
reproduced two articles from the UNESCO Sources No. 75 
special section on the Information Superhighway, giving an
update on the availability and future potential of this new
technology in Asia and the Pacific and in Africa.  

This issue also contains an overview of the 1995 Profile on
Agricultural Co-operation throughout the World, which is a
summary of a study on agricultural co-operatives worldwide,
published by the Centre de Gestion des Coop‚ratives of the
Ecole de Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Canada. Finally,
articles relating to 75 Years of ILO work promoting
co-operatives and collaboration between the ILO Co-operative
Branch and the ICA , and articles which relate to follow-up to
the UN conferences on Women and  the HABITAT II Conference to
take place this July in Istanbul reflect the increasing role
which ICA is playing on behalf of its members within the UN

We also wished to include information about the new ICA Board
Members in this issue but time restrictions made this
impossible. These will therefore be included in the next issue
which will meet a long unfulfilled need, being almost
exclusively dedicated to publicising the work of the ICA's
Specialised Committee for Research.

In a small office team-work is essential. In order for  a
Communications Programme to work efficiently it is essential
that material  is received from each and every staff member. I
would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to thank my
colleagues for their continuous contribution and lively input,
without which we could not serve our members' information
needs effectively.

In 1996 we will continue to keep our readers informed of the
activities of the ICA Secretariat and the work of its
Specialised Bodies as well as important events and initiatives
of the movement world-wide. We look forward to hearing from
our readers and will endeavour to include your contributions
whenever possible. May 1996 be a fruitful year for
co-operators wherever you may be.

Mary Treacy