Report from the ICACC (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.57-60)

Report from the ICACC 
by Mary Treacy*
********************

This has been a very intense year for the  Communications  Committee.
We see our principle mission to the ICA being the facilitation of
intercommunications between sectors and regions and the specialised
committees. In the past the ICA has not been as good at this as it should
have been. Now in the context of globalisation  and the need for projects
in international trade, joint ventures in cultural development and
co-operative leadership in civil society, we need to develop a matrix
approach to our work. We will not function effectively within our various
regions and sectors if we are unaware of the contribution and expertise
existing in the other sectors and specialised committees.

I want to emphases this aspect because it has a particular relevance to one
of the most important recent  developments of the ICA Communications
Committee. This is the setting up of a new sub-committee on
Communications and Trade which will be led by Byron Henderson of
the University of Saskatchewan. 

The purpose of the Working Group will be to receive information on
developments in the area of Trade and Communications Networks,
advise on the creation of these networks, inform the co-operative
community of advances and support the integration of such networks
into co-operatives. This group will hold its founding meeting this week
and hopes to agree on firm objectives and an achievable action plan which
will ensure that co-operatives do not get left behind in this fast developing
world of technology. 

We will circulate information to all the sectoral committees and ICA regions
about the work of this sub-committee, but I want to take this opportunity to
emphasise that this subcommittee will only be really effective if it gets
constructive  response from the sectors and regions as to their needs and
any immediate projects they may be undertaking in this area. 

Likewise we shall need to recognise that there are critical HRD, Research
and Organisational Development issues arising from these developments
that will require the active involvement of both the Research and HRD
Committees. 

For this reason we will also be advising these committees of the
communications and issues raised  and where necessary project based
working parties on specific areas of international sectoral and regional
co-operation should be developing.

On Wednesday the ICACC is jointly organising a  seminar with ICA's
Global Human Resource Development Committee entitled "Overcoming
Geographical Barriers through Electronic Networking and Distance
Learning"  with support from the ILO CoopNet Programme.

At our Executive meeting on Sunday, we had discussions on a workshop
for journalists from East and Central Africa which we intend to organise
next June, probably in Swaziland. This two-week workshop will target
information officers from ICA member organisations in twelve countries.
It will be organised in co-operation with the ICA Regional Office in Moshi
and the ILO Co-op Net Officer for the region.

However, the main objective of our group is supporting the ICA's own
aims. The members of the ICACC have assured me that they  will do all
they can to support the ICA's Communications Department to implement
ICA's four year communications strategy which was approved by the ICA
Board in Kampala in April 1997.  Major components of this strategy are
outlined in the Review of International Co-operation, Volume 3/1997 which
is part of the documentation for this meeting.

Again we need to be thinking both socially and commercially in improving
the image of co-operatives. In this age of global identity we should revive
the much discussed issue of adopting a  universally recognised logo for the
movement worldwide.

Besides the communications and trade component, new developments
include developing the presence of the ICA on the internet, producing
video news-reels on the co-operative movement for worldwide distribution 
and setting up a data base on the worldwide movement.

The internet is an ideal method to spread information about the movement
to a wider audience. However, we understand that not everyone has access
to modern technology. Video news releases are a way of reaching just about
everybody (between 340 million and 400 million people would have had the
opportunity to see excerpts from the first news release which was shown at
yesterday's general assembly, for example). 

Data base development is another area where much remains to be done.
Only by having accurate statistics at our fingertips will policy makers be
able to analyse trends and make informed decisions. For this we need of
course input from our regions and the sectoral organisation and specialised
committees so that their needs are met and duplication of effort is avoided.

The ICACC believes that to achieve the ICA objectives members must
recognise the need for projects that cross functional and regional
boundaries. In this way we will benefit our own organisations and all
co-operatives worldwide in the spirit in which our great movement was
founded.