Priorities for ICA Europe Work Programme

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


Source : Review of International Co-operation, Vol.89 No
1/1996, 100-102.


       Priorities for  ICA Europe Work Programme  1996-97
                   by Arsenio Invernizzi*
       **************************************************


Introduction
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This document aims at defining the work priorities and the
strategy for ICA Europe and has been prepared for discussion
at the meeting of the European Council (EC) and the European
Regional Assembly to be held in Manchester on 19 September
1995. It has  taken into account the remarks of the EC members
made at their  meeting on 12 July 1995 in St. Petersburg.

Based on the priorities to be approved by the Regional
Assembly in Manchester, the Secretariat of the European
Council will submit for the next Council meeting a work
programme and a budget for 1996.

Experiences in 1994-1995
------------------------
The first two years have permitted to set up officially the
European Regional Assembly and elect the European Council as
well as to decentralise certain activities within the Region
based on the priorities set by the Council and approved by the
Regional Assembly; it also permitted to make a realistic
evaluation on what is convenient and what is possible to do in
Europe, without establishing new structures and/or increase
the fixed costs of ICA.

The effective work has been done in majority through the
voluntary contribution and self-financing of the member
organisations which has been completed by the modest financial
contribution of the European Commission. At the first Regional
Assembly held in Prague last October the decision was made to
focus the activities of the working groups on the following
six priorities: 

1.   Strengthening of Co-operatives in Eastern and Central
     Europe; 
2.   Management Control Systems and Corporate Governance; 
3.   Sustainable Human Development;
4.   Gender issues;
5.   Improving Information and Communication; 
6.   Co-operatives and Schools (see details of activities
     implemented in Vol.88/3 of the Review of International
     Co-operation - XXXI ICA Congress, Section IV, pp. 21-26).

Some of the activities considered as priorities will be
finished by the time of the Congress as far as ICA Europe is
concerned, although they would need to be followed up from a
global aspect or in certain cases included in the development
of cross-border collaborations between the national and/or
sectoral co-operative movements. 

This is true for instance for the programme relating to
co-operatives and schools. It seems to us convenient as well
that gender issues constitute a global priority of the overall
strategy rather than a separate priority in itself, among the
others.

Considering all the above elements, the following four
priorities are proposed for the annual work programme of ICA
Europe in 1996 to be approved by the European Regional
Assembly in Manchester.

The activities to be carried on on this bases will be open to
and require the participation of all of the European
co-operative movements as well as the collaboration of the
sectoral associations, members of CCACC with which protocols
of agreement will be signed during the centennial Congress in
Manchester.

Future Priorities
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1.   Strengthening of Co-operatives in Eastern and Central
     Europe
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This priority - considered by the European Regional Assembly
of Prague, 1994, as the most important one - could include the
following activities:

-    assistance to co-operative movements - on their request -
     in their dialogue with government agencies with the aim
     of improving the image of  co-operatives and co-operative
     legislation;

-    definition of priority themes for sub-regional
     co-operation of interest to one or several co-operative
     movements and organisation, together with Co-op Network
     of a seminar linked to one of the European Council
     meetings to be held in 1996 on the "Conditions, methods
     and targets of support to the co-operative movements of
     Central and Eastern Europe" 

-    collaboration with Co-op Network for defining the
     further steps to integrate its activities within the
     framework of ICA Europe.


2.   Code of practice, governing methods and management
     control systems
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-

This activity will have two main components:

-    The work following the revision of the co-operative
     principles by the Congress, for instance, the revision of
     the co-operative legislation and the training of  experts
     in  co-operative law and economics. 

-    The implementation of the recommendations concerning the
     co-operative code of practice resulting from the analysis
     and the seminar on "Corporate Governance" in
     St.Petersburg.

3.   Sustainable Human Development (SHD)
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Within this large concept as indicated in the ICA Congress
document ICA Europe is suggesting to focus on three priority
areas: 1. environment, 2. job creation and fight against
exclusion, 3. international co-operation North/South.

ICA Europe should continue supporting the ICA global action on
SHD through the following activities:

-    encourage and facilitate the transfer of know-how and
     experiences available in the European co-operative
     movements by organising an East-West seminar on the
     management systems and co-operative technologies
     respecting the environment;

-    participate in the study, the implementation and
     voluntary financing by the European co-operative  movements of
                                                       the
                                                       "trust
                                                       fund"
                                                       to be
                                                       suggested by
                                                       ICA at
                                                       its
                                                       Congress in
                                                       Manchester;

-    promote policy dialogue with the European Union aiming at
     strengthening co-operation to the benefit    of the 
     co-operative movements of the South, and particularly
     those of Africa.

4.   Co-operative Image in Europe: Improving Information and
     Communication
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This priority will include the further phases of the project
"Co-operatives and Schools" and the European contribution to
the global ICA programme on information and communication and
its active participation in developing and using electronic
networking.
 
To facilitate ICA Europe a better policy dialogue with the
European authorities and to enable to provide a more efficient
support to members ICA Europe needs to dispose of a better
information base on the movements of the region. 

Therefore ICA Europe would like to receive from the European
members a brief analysis of the situation of their
co-operative development and the existing statistics. 

On this basis the ICA European Secretariat will be able to
prepare a global report on the situation of co-operatives in
Europe which would be the basis for the annual report of the
President of ICA Europe.

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* Mr Invernizzi is Senior Programme Analyst at ICA Geneva and
Secretary to ICA Europe.