Co-operatives and Environment - A Brazilian Experience (1997)

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This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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Dec., 1997
(Source: ICA Review, Vol.90 No.4, 1997, pp.90-91)

Co-operatives and Environment - A Brazilian Experience
by Celso Luiz Claro de Oliveira*
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At the dawn of this century, we can say that through co-operation we
will be able to find the best way towards the balanced and sustainable
development of our planet.

Co-operation is not just a state of mind. It reveals the capacity of the human
being to associate and promote an opportunity of a better life for people all
over the world.

In the Brazilian amazon region, for instance, Fred Voit  is an example of
how volunteer work can help in a co-operative endeavour. Exotic tropical
fruits highly nutritious, with pleasant taste and smell will be industrialized
in the region by the end of this year thanks to a work plan prepared by
Mr. Voit.

He is one of the 48 north American consultants - co-operative volunteers 
who are visiting the amazon states as part of the program for the sustainable
development of the amazon's social economics.

The programme is a joint initiative of the department of rural co-operatives
and the Organization of Brazilian Co-operatives - OCB. It counts on the
support of the Agriculture Co-operative Development International -
Volunteer in Overseas Co-operative Assistance - ACDI/VOCA and the
International Co-operative Alliance - ICA.

Covering all the nine Brazilian states of the Amazon Basin, the program
follows the recommendations of the earth summit held in Rio de Janeiro
in 1992 and supports the social and economic development based on self-
management processes and on the economic, social, cultural and
environmental sustainability. At that time, Mr. Roberto Rodrigues,
organized an international conference on Co-operation and environment
at the global forum of NGOs.

The International Co-operative Alliance has been concerned with sustainable
development and environment as far back as 1984 when these issues where
included in the discussions of its international congress held in Hamburg,
Germany.

In 1995, the Assembly of the ICA's centennial ratified the statement of the
co-operative identity in its international congress held in Manchester,
England. The statement included the environmental dimension among the
co-operative principles.

Presently, in a world without frontiers integrated by modern tools of
communication, the exchange of knowledge and technology facilitated
the implementation of projects that contemplate the sustainable development
and the environmental issue such as the one being executed in the Brazilian
Amazon Region, with the support of the ICA.

This is an example that could be shared in similar environments all over the
world: in the humid tropical forests of South America, Asia or Africa, for
instance, experiences to benefit the native population and contribute to the
preservation of the environment.

Another example of successful international co-operation is the producer
programme implemented in Brazil. Working together in a co-operative
endeavour, Japanese and Brazilians promote the development of a two
million square kilometres region of cerrado (SAVANAS) equivalent to
the size of a country as big as Mexico. 

The sustainable agricultural exploitation of the Brazilian cerrado though
co-operatives restrain the migration flow from south and South-west regions
to the Amazon, creating a natural belt that protects the tropical forest.
International joint ventures such as the ones we mentioned should be
considered as a model of co-operation to promote sustainable development.
Mr. Dejandir Dalpasquale, president of OCB and president of the
Agricultural Committee of the ICA for the Americas strongly supports all
initiatives to integrate co-operative endeavours among the nine countries
which constitute the Amazon Pact, and the Brazilian Government support
plays a fundamental role to promote a better life quality and guarantee
environmental preservation.

Whatever the conclusions that may be reached, there is no doubt that, at
the verge of a new century, Co-operativism constructs a solid path towards
sustainable development.

And, in order to contribute to pave this path, we are pleased to invite all the
participants of this ICA Assembly to join us the International Conference
of Co-operative Sustainable Development of the Amazon Basin Countries.

This meeting will be held in Manaus, the capital of the Amazon state, 10 -
12 December,  on the  initiative of the International Co-operative Alliance
and the Organization of Brazilian Co-operatives.

We believe that this reunion of co-operatives of all countries of the Amazon
Basin will be an effort to establish a common and integrated policy for a
better future of that huge important ecosystem of the globe.

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* Mr. de Oliveira is Director of the International Advisory of the
Organizations of Brazilian Co-operatives - OCB Director for ICA - Brazil.