ICA General Assembly, 15-16 Sept. 97, Geneva - Draft Minutes (1997)

This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
Dec., 1997
(Source: ICA Review, Vol.90 No.4, 1997, pp. 5-14)

ICA General  Assembly 15-16 September 1997 
Geneva, Switzerland
Draft Minutes

Official Opening
The ICA President, Graham Melmoth, opened the meeting and welcomed
members to the first General Assembly held since the 1995 Congress in
Manchester.  He noted the high level of attendance, particularly from Latin
America, and the welcome fact that eleven of the fifteen Specialised Bodies
were also holding meetings in conjunction with the General Assembly.  

Dr. Markus Schelker, Deputy General Manager of Co-op Switzerland and
retiring Chairman of ICA's Audit and Control Committee, welcomed
participants on behalf of the ICA's member organisation in Switzerland.

The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Mr. Michel
Hansenne, spoke of the belief in economic progress and social justice which
is common to both the ILO and the ICA.  He described the ILO's large
programme of support to co-operatives, which is based on the three
priorities of democracy, employment, and workers' protection.  He
expressed the hope that the ILO and the ICA would increase their already
considerable degree of collaboration.

Statutory Business
The draft Agenda was approved.

The draft Minutes of the 1995 General Assembly, held after the Manchester
Congress, were also approved.

As the final item of Statutory Business, the President informed delegates
about arrangements made by the Board regarding the forthcoming  elections
to the Board and to the Audit and Control Committee.  

Reports to the Membership
The ICA President, Graham Melmoth, focussed his report on the seven
priorities which the Board identified at its December 1995 planning session,
and which have since guided the work of ICA: improved liaison and
collaboration with the Specialised Bodies; gender issues; communications;
establishment of the Development Trust; expansion of membership; review
of the ICA's rules and procedures; and liaison with the United Nations

The Chairman of the Audit and Control Committee, Dr. Markus Schelker,
reported that the ICA's financial and administative management was sound. 
Mr. Mark Hawkins, representative of the external auditors Ernst and
Young, reported that the ICA was following the internationally accepted
financial standards and that their audited financial statements were
unqualified.  The General Assembly accepted the following
recommendations from the Audit and Control Committee and the Board:  

a)	 that the two-year surplus of CHF 226,317  be divided in the
	following way: 150,000 donated to the Corpus Fund of the ICA
	Development Trust, becoming its initial capital; a maximum of
	50,000 allocated to restructuring of the ICA office in Geneva; and
	the remaining minimum amount of CHF 26,317 transferred to the
	ICA General Reserve; and
b)	 that the ICA's audited accounts for 1995 and 1996 be approved.  

The ICA Director-General, Bruce Thordarson, described the way in which
the ICA Head Office is currently structured: three line departments dealing
with Communications, UN relations, and Development; and two staff
sections dealing with Special Projects and Administration/Finance.  He
concluded his report by showing a video news release produced on the
occasion of the 1997 International Day of Co-operatives.

Proposed Amendments to the ICA Rules and Procedures
The President informed participants that a special board committee
consisting of himself as chairman, Raija Itkonen, Yehudah Paz, and Etienne
Pflimlin had been set up by the Board to examine what changes would be
desirable since the ICA Rules were last changed in 1992.  In general they
concluded that the regional structure set up at the Tokyo Congress was
working well and should not be fundamentally changed.  They did,
however, identify a number of other areas where change was desirable,
including a number of housekeeping items.  These recommendations were
discussed on several occasions by the ICA Board, whose final proposals
arising from these discussions are now presented to the General Assembly. 

These major recommendations for change include:
-	changing the Objectives of ICA to include efforts to promote
	Sustainable Human Development and to promote Equality Between
	Men and Women in Co-operatives

-	replacing the old ICA Principles with the Statement on Co- operative
	Identity that was adopted by the 1995 Manchester Congress and
	General Assembly

-	introducing a category of Associate Membership, which has been
	especially requested by some of the regions

-	increasing the size of the maximum General Assembly
	representation per country from 20 to 25, in recognition of the
	growing size of ICA membership in many countries

-	increasing the size of the Board from 16 to 20 in order to improve its
	regional and sectoral representation 

-	increasing the representation of women on the Board by establishing
	an Elections Committee to encourage their nomination, and by
	enabling the Board to co-opt women if needed

-	adjusting some of the powers between the Board and the Audit and
	Control Committee so that it is the Board which has direct contact
	with the ICA's auditors

-	recognising the ICA Vice-Presidents as "ICA Authorities" in
	recognition of the important role they play as interface between the
	ICA Board and their regions

-	encouraging a closer working relationship between ICA and the
	Specialised Bodies in many ways: designation of liaison persons on
	the ICA Board, encouraging collaboration with ICA offices and
	regional structures, and working towards the important objective of
	having at least half of the members of Specialised Bodie also
	members of ICA.

The President said that the Committee and Board also reviewed the
Subscription Formula and concluded that the present formula should be
maintained, with the exception of the housing formula.  Discussions are
underway with ICA Housing in order to arrive at a mutually-agreeable new

The President noted that there are also a number of proposals to make it
easier for member organisations to nominate candidates in the case of future
Board elections, including reducing the length of the notice period, doing
away with the requirement that candidates must have served on an ICA
governing body for at least two years, providing for last-minute Emergency
Nominations, and creating an Elections Committee.

The President further informed participants that the ICA Board, at its
meeting the day before, had decided to recommend three amendments to the
draft rules.  First, after consultation with the Global Women's Committee, it
proposed to replace the reference in Article 17 to co-option with the
following resolution:

"The ICA Board proposes that a provisional measure of co-option be
accepted at this General Assembly to ensure that at least one woman per
region is included on the Board."

"The Board further recommends that at least one woman be nominated from
each region at the next and subsequent General Assembly elections."

Secondly, the Board agreed with the proposal of the Women's Committee
that the composition of the Elections Committee, as set out in the Standing
Orders for Board Election, be amended as follows: "The Elections
Committee is composed of eight persons, including the Vice-Presidents,
and is gender-balanced."

Thirdly, the Board had agreed to the request by TICA (the International 
Co-operative and Associated Tourism Organisation) that it continue to be
recognised as an ICA Specialised Organisation during its current period of

Following a page-by-page review of the draft Rules and Procedures, the
General Assembly approved the proposed changes as well as the three
amendments and the resolution proposed by the Board.

Introduction of Candidates for Election
The ICA President reported on the elections scheduled for the following
day.  He informed participants that, following his decision not to stand for
re-election, there had been one nomination for President, Roberto
Rodrigues of Brazil, and that this nomination was supported unanimously
by the Elections Committee and by the Board.  

He further reported that the regions had elected their nominees for Vice
President as follows: Yang Deshou from Asia-Pacific, Lars Hillbom from
Europe, and Bernard Wolimbwa from Africa.  In view of Roberto
Rodrigues' vacating the position of Vice-President for the Americas, the
Board proposed that Miguel Cardozo of Uruguay, presently Vice-Chairman
of ICA's Regional Assembly for the Americas, be designated as "Acting
Vice-President (Americas)" until such time as the Americas Regional
Assembly meets to elect officially its vice-presidential nominee.

Mr. Melmoth then invited the 19 candidates for the remaining 15 Board
positions to address the General Assembly:

Argentina 	-	Alfredo Gonzalez Moledo
Bulgaria	-	Pancho Ivanov
Canada		-	Claude Bˇland
Costa Rica	-	Carlos Bonilla Ayub
Czech Republic-	Ivan Prikryl
France		-	Etienne Pflimlin
Germany	-	Jens Heiser (represented by Claus Hachmann)
India		-	B.S. Vishwanathan
Israel		-	Yehudah Paz
Italy		-	Stefania Marcone
Japan		-	Hiroshi Kohno
Korea		-	Churll-Hee Won
Malaysia	-	Senator Rahaiah Baheran
Russia		-	Valentin Ermakov
Senegal	-	Ousseynou Dieng
Slovak Republic-	Cyril Moravcik
Sri Lanka	-	Lionel Samarasinghe
United Kingdo	-	Lloyd Wilkinson
United States	-	David Miller

Turning to the election of the Audit and Control Committee, the
President invited the seven candidates seeking election for the five
positions to address the General Assembly:

Germany		-	Wilhelm Kaltenborn
Hungary		-	Pal Bartus
Japan			-	Shigenori Takemoto
Norway		-	Ivar Hansen
Puerto Rico		-	Ana T. Davila Lao (absent)
Puerto Rico		-	Carmen Perez Rodriguez
Sweden		-	Gun-Britt Martensson (represented by 
				Rolf Trodin)

Reports from Regions and Specialised Bodies
The President invited the four ICA regions to report, noting that regional
work is an increasingly important part of the ICA's overall activities. 
Reports were given by:

-	Bernard Wolimbwa, ICA Vice-President (Africa)
-	Roberto Rodrigues, ICA Vice-President (Americas)	
-	Hiroshi Kohno, JA Zenchu, Japan, and Robby Tulus, ICA
	Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific
-	Lars Hillbom, ICA Vice-President (Europe)

The President noted that the work of the Specialised Bodies is also a key
part of the ICA's overall structure, and one which is receiving increased
attention and support from the ICA Board, the Head Office, and Regional
Offices.  He invited the Specialized Bodies to report to the General
Assembly.  The following spoke:

-	International Co-operative Agricultural Organisation, Mario Dumais,
-	CICOPA, Marian Rybar, Interim President
-	International Co-operative Fisheries Organisation, Shoji Uemura, 
_	Chairman
-	International Co-operative Housing Organisation, Rolf Trodin,
-	International Co-operative Banking Association, Claude Bˇland, 
-	International Co-operative & Mutual Insurance Federation, Hans
	Dahlberg, Chief Executive
-	International Health Co-operative Organisation, Dr. Shoji Kato, 
-	ICA Communications Committee,  Mary Treacy, Secretary
-	ICA Research Committee, Akira Kurimoto, Vice-Chairman
-	Global Human Resources Development Committee, Yehudah Paz, 
-	Global Women's Committee, Katarina Apelqvist, Chairwoman

Seminar: The Global Dimension of Co-operatives
The President welcomed delegates to the continuation of the General
Assembly on 16 September.  He invited Dr. Yehudah Paz to introduce
and to chair the morning's seminar.  

Dr. Paz spoke about the importance of a more active and visible
international presence for the co-operative movement, and the desirability
of greater collaboration with institutions and movements sharing similar

John Langmore, Director of the Division for Social Policy and
Development, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations,
New York, focussed on current UN priority areas where the international
co-operative movement has an important role to play.		

Eddy Laurijssen, Assistant General Secretary, International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions, Brussels, spoke of areas in which co-operatives and
trade unions could collaborate to mutual benefit.

David King, Secretary-General, International Federation of Agricultural
Producers, Paris, spoke of the importance of farmers' associations and
co-operatives in promoting the interests of farmers around the world.

Cyril Ritchie, President, Federation of International Institutions Established
in Geneva, described the important role of the civil society, including
co-operatives, in dealing with priority issues facing today's world.

The Chairman invited Mr. G. Hulton, Assistant Director-General of the
ILO, and Dr. C. Baker, Chairman of COPAC, to contribute their views
on this topic.

Following their presentations, representatives of ICA member organisations
and Specialised Bodies made short presentations of their experience in the
area of international collaboration:

-	Lars Hillbom, Swedish Co-operative Union and Wholesale Society,
-	Celso Claro de Oliviera, Organisation of Co-operatives of Brazil,
-	Ousseynou Dieng, Union Nationale des Coopˇratives Agricoles du 
	Senegal, UNCAS
-	Churll-Hee Won, National Agricultural Co-operative Federation of 
	Korea, NACF
-	Shigenori Takemoto, Japanese Consumers' Co-operative Union,
-	Katarina Apelqvist, ICA Global Women's Committee
-	Mario Dumais, International Co-operative Agriculture Organisation,
-	Rolf Trodin, ICA Housing

Mr. Paz expressed his regrets that time did not permit further interventions
from the floor.  He concluded the session by saying that this issue would
undoubtedly remain high on the ICA's agenda for the future, and that the
comments made during the seminar would help the Board decide on future
priorities and work programmes.

Mr. Melmoth thanked all the participants for a useful seminar.  He
apologised to members from Georgia, Palestine, and Romania, who had
also wanted to make interventions, and said that the ICA would follow up
on the points contained in their papers.

The President called the afternoon session to order and requested the
Director-General to explain the voting procedure.  Following the conclusion
of the secret ballot, and while the votes were being counted, the General
Assembly returned to its business agenda.  

The President noted that three resolutions had been presented to the General
Assembly in accordance with the Rules:

-	Resolution on the Support to Co-operative Movements in the
	Countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the former USSR by
	Centrosoyus of the Russian Federation

-	Resolution on the Situation in the Consumer Co-operative
	Movements of the Newly Independent States by the International
	Council for Consumer Co-operatives, Consuminter

-	Resolution on the Establishment of a Co-operative Training Centre
	by the Central Union of Workers' Productive Co-operatives in

The three resolutions were approved by acclamation.

Future Meetings
The President reminded participants that 1998 is a Regional Assembly year
for ICA.  Assemblies are planned for Lusaka, Zambia, in August; Paris,
France, and Seoul, Korea, in October; and Montevideo, Uruguay, in

He informed members that, in conjunction with the Regional Assembly for
Asia and the Pacific, ICA will also organise a Global Opportunity for
members to meet.  This is in response to the membership survey recently
conducted by ICA, which showed that the opportunity to learn and share
experiences through global meetings remains a high priority for many ICA
members.  Accordingly, the NACF of Korea, which will be hosting the
Asian Regional Assembly, has kindly also agreed to host a Global Seminar,
which will give members from other regions an opportunity to learn
something about the successful experiences of co-operatives in several
Asian countries.

Regarding 1999, the President said that the ICA Board had been very
pleased to receive an invitation from ICA's two Canadian member
organisations to hold the 1999 General Assembly in Quebec City. Claude
Beland, President of the Desjardins Confederation, invited members to
Quebec during the last two weeks of August 1999, and showed a video
about Quebec City.

The President informed delegates that, in view of the significance of the
dates of the General Assembly, the ICA Board had decided to propose to
the General Assembly that a "Millennium Congress" be organised in
conjunction with the 1999 General Assembly on the theme of "Adding
Value to Membership - the Co-operative Challenge for the Next
Millennium".  The dates, venue, and theme of the 1999 Congress and General 
Assembly were approved by the General Assembly.

Election Results
The President informed members that he had received the election results.
First, he read out the names of the candidates for the Audit and Control
Committee, and the votes received, the first five being declared elected:

1. Shigenori Takemoto, Japan		317
2. Wilhelm Kaltenborn, Germany	287
3. Pal Bartus, Hungary		262
4. Gun-Britt Martensson, Sweden	255
5. Ivar Hansen, Norway		241
6. Carmen Perez, Puerto Rico		213
7. Anila Davila, Puerto Rico		  51

The President then read out the names of the candidates for election to
the Board, and votes received, the first 15 being declared elected:

1. 	Stefania Marcone, Italy	321
2. 	Lloyd Wilkinson, U.K.	318
3. 	Jens Heiser, Germany		313
4. 	Etienne Pflimlin, France	308
5. 	Hiroshi Kohno, Japan		302
6. 	David Miller, U.S.A.		296
7. 	Claude Beland, Canada	294
7. 	Yehudah Paz, Israel		294
9. 	Churll-Hee Won, Korea	281
10.	B.S. Vishwanathan, India	275
11.	Rahaiah Baheran, Malaysia	274
12.	Ousseynu Dieng, Senegal	239
13.	Cyril Moravcik, Slovakia	230
14.	Valentin Ermakov, Russia	216
15.	Ivan Prikryl, Czech Republic	164
16.	Alfred Gonzalez, Argentina	146
17.	Carlos Bonilla, Costa Rica	116
18.	Pancho Ivanov, Bulgaria	103
19.	Lionel Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka- 34

The President congratulated the successful candidates, and thanked all for
their participation.

The President then asked if the four nominations for Vice-President could
be ratified by the General Assembly:

-	Yang Deshou as Vice-President (Asia and the Pacific)
-	Bernard Wolimbwa as Vice-President (Africa)
-	Lars Hillbom as Vice-President (Europe)
-	Miguel Cardozo as Acting Vice-President (Americas)

The General Assembly unanimously ratified the four nominations.
Mr. Melmoth then invited the President of the Organisation of Co-operatives
of Brazil, Dejandir Dalpasquale, to officially nominate the candidate for
President.  Mr. Dalpasquale described the many years of leadership of
Roberto Rodrigues in Brazilian co-operative, agricultural, journalistic, and
academic circles, and nominated him as ICA President on behalf of OCB. 
The nomination was unanimously approved by the General Assembly.
Mr. Melmoth presented the new President with the official gavel and invited
him to address the General Assembly.

Mr. Rodrigues spoke of his gratitude to all who had supported him, of his
fear in dealing with the great challenges facing ICA and the co-operative
movement, and of his confident hope that co-operatives are the right
solution for today's challenges.  He said that he would continue the current
direction of ICA by emphasising four priorities: strengthening the
co-operative identity, strengthening and integrating the different economic
sectors, fostering participation of women and young people, and supporting
co-operative development in Africa. 

The ICA President then presented certificates of appreciation to the retiring
members of the Audit and Control Committee:

-	Markus Schelker, Switzerland
-	Jacques Moreau, France

He also presented certificates of appreciation to the retiring members of
the Board:

-	Ivano Barberini, Italy
-	Hakaru Toyoda, Japan
-	Holger Hasle Nielsen, Denmark
-	Ota Karen, Czech Republic
-	Raija Itkonen, Finland

Mr. Rodrigues then presented a special plaque to Graham Melmoth and
paid tribute to his service to ICA as a Board Member, first Chairman of ICA
Europe, and 12th ICA President.

Mr. Melmoth thanked the new President for his remarks and expressed his
confidence in the future of ICA.

The President thanked participants, interpreters, and the ICA staff for
a successful General Assembly, and declared the meeting closed.