Report of the Vice-President for Asia and the Pacific

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

  Report of the Vice-President for Asia and Pacific Region

by Mitsugu Horiuchi*

24 months ago, at our Assembly in Geneva, I submitted to you how we, in
Asia and Pacific, had made ourselves ready for the start of our Regional
Assembly. Today, I would report to you what has happened there, hence.

Before doing so, I would remind you that the ICA region of Asia and Pacific
covers a vast area, i.e. from Israel on the West to Fiji in the Pacific on
the East, further stretching to east of 180 degrees Eastern Longitude to
include Tonga, just admitted into membership. From this region, 57 national
level co-operative organisations from 24 countries and one regional
organisation join forces in ICA with some 500 million or 2/3 of global
individual membership of the Alliance.

1.  Economies on the Rise and Economies inTransition
It may be useful to touch briefly upon the economic situations of countries
in the region.

(i)  South-East Asian market economies on the rise
     Market economies of South-East Asia continue their high growth centred
around ASEAN countries. The region covered by UN/ECOSOC registered an
annual growth of over 7% in both 1993 and 1994, and some similar growth is
expected into years 1995 and 1996.

     With cessation of battles, countries of Indo-China are also pushing
ahead market-oriented reforms in hopes to share in the dynamic economic
growth of Asia and Pacific.

(ii)  South-West Asia
      In South-West Asia, India, alone having a population of 900 million,
set to promote economic reforms since 1991, adopting such policies as
inviting foreign investments and technology as well as relaxing regulations
on domestic industries. Neighbouring countries are also following suit.

(iii) Economies in transition
      China, with its 1.2 billion people, is transferring to a 'socialist
market economy' since 1992, with double digit annual growth.

      Countries of Central Asia are in the midst of struggling to find ways
for development with policy adjustments, switching from radical reform
attempts in a period immediately following the collapse of the USSR to more
gradual reform.

(iv)  Others
      The Israeli-PLO Agreement of May 1994 seems to have triggered
accelerated moves towards normalisation of relations in the Middle-East,
the whole of Australia and insular countries move to strengthen
relationships with countries of our region based on their Pacific Rim

2.  Statutory Meetings and Consolidation of Statutes
We were able to have our first meeting of Regional Assembly in January,
1994, in New Delhi, with 112 delegates/observers attending from 15
countries and ACCU as well as SCC and ILO. It was inaugurated by the Union
Minister of Agriculture and efficiently conducted by Mr Vishwanathan,
President of the host organisation, who was elected as chairman according
to our practice.

The Assembly approved some amendments to its Rules earlier drafted by the
Beijing Consultation, including a few lines providing for Associate
Members, Observers and Special Representatives so it can invite more
interested bodies to our ICA regional activities. It also approved draft
Rules of the Executive Council saying, among other things, that each member
country will be represented by one delegate.

The 2nd Regional Assembly will meet in Malaysia in 1996 by the invitation
of Professor Ungku Aziz, Vice-Chairmen of the Assembly. The 2nd Executive
Council will meet in India this coming November.

Co-operative Development Programme in the Asia and Pacific Region

Our region has a Regional Office, the oldest of all ICA regional offices,
which runs co-operative development programmes. Nine development projects
are under way during the year 1995 under the supervision of Regional
Director, Mr G.K. Sharma, and  conducted by several project
directors/advisors. They are:

1.   Policy Development and Legislation;
2.   Development Planning and Coordination;
3.   Agricultural Co-operative Development;
4.   Consumer Co-operative Development;
5.   Human Resource Development;
6.   Gender Integration;
7.   Agricultural Management Training;
8.   Rural Women Leaders Training;
9.   ICA-CICOPA-NCUI Field Project in India.

These regional activities are financially supported roughly one-third each
by beneficiary member-organisations in the region, donors from within the
region and donors from outside.

Having as many as two-thirds of ICA global individual members, the
co-operative development need of our region is substantial, in other words,
the developmental projects need  to be expanded with support from both
within and outside the region.

Some Major Concerns of Co-operatives in Asia and Pacific

Asia and Pacific is divergent not just socio-economically but their
co-operatives as well in terms of types and stage of development so that
one cannot describe it in a word. Let me limit myself to touch on two
aspects of our major concerns.

1.  Government-Coop Relationship

Governments in the region usually promote economic and social development
based on a national development plan covering several years, and in many
cases, co-operatives are given roles in it.

ROAP has convened three meetings of Joint Co-operative Ministers and Top
Leaders Conference with the last one in Colombo in 1994, to promote
exchange of opinions on the role of Government in co-operative development,
relationship between Government and co-operatives etc. The next dialogue is
scheduled for early 1997 in Thailand.

Such an interface has already produced some good results: stimulated, the
Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand had their
co-operative laws reviewed and modified, while Vietnam benefitted from ROAP
advice in framing a separate law.

In other note, we are told that the All-China Federation Supply and
Marketing Co-operatives had been separated to become independent from the
Ministry of Internal Trade.

2.  Challenge of Marketization

Global waves of market-oriented transformation and deregulation unfinished
this part of the world also,  be they under former planned economy or
market economy, co-operatives in our region, faced with shortages of
capital and management capabilities, slow response to global trends in
trade in part due to lack of information and data, and having to get
Government clearance to do anything, are having hard time adjusting
themselves to the new economic environment.

As seen above, countries of Asia & Pacific are washed by waves of reforms.
Co-operatives need to enhance management capability to survive and develop
in a more competitive environment. In this context as well, it is important
to realise favourable legal framework and Government relations. It will be
our job, through efforts to achieve these, to demonstrate 'why
co-operatives now?', which is basically the theme of this Congress.

My final word, I have been on the Executive of ICA since 1988 and have had
pleasure of serving as Vice-President since Tokyo Congress of 1992. Having
seen the maiden voyage, as it were, of the new ICA structure, I think that
it would be good for me to give it a period and step down together with
President Marcus.

*Mr. Horiuchi, completes his terms of duty as ICA Vice-President and
offically retires in September 1995.  He is replaced by Hakaru Toyoda,
President of the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives in Japan.