(Source: ICA Review, Vol.91 No.2 - Annual Report 1997-1998, pp. 29-30)
(Juan Diego Pacheco - Regional Director)
1. Regional Office for the Americas (ROAM)
1997 was the first year of ICA Americas’ updated Regional Development Plan. This document identified ICA ROAM’s mission as follows: “To promote the repositioning of the co-operative model within the new economic, political, social and commercial enviroment while supporting its members in the promotion and defense of the co-operative identity, the promotion of business and human resource development”. The achievements were positive in terms of increased membership, and consolidation of specialized regional committees for business and human resouce development. This has also enhanced ICA Americas’ position at the continental level.
15 new members joined the ICA Americas last year. This was an increase in the regional membership of 24%, giving ICA a total of 64 members from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
To support and supplement the sectoral approach, the regional office and its activities are now supporting regional specialized organizations for banking, health, consumer, agriculture and insurance. By the end of 1997, committees for housing, tourism and CICOPA were also being activated. All the committees are geared to developing inter-cooperative business relations and to increasing the competitiveness of its members in their respective markets. The presidents of the specialized committees have been integrated in the Regional Consultative Meeting, which assures a better coordination of the activities of the region.
Doing Business Guides have been produced within the framework of the sectoral approach. Guides for the health, consumer and agriculture sectors have been published, and guides for the financial and housing sectors are under preparation.
In the area of human resource development, ICA’s gender programme in the Andean Pact countries made significant progress. Important activities included the creation of national groups to support the work, and the training of staff in member organizations. Likewise, the work of the ICA Women Continental Committee was consolidated with representatives from different organizations in the region.
Other HRD activities were the creation of a network made up by universities
and cooperative training centres, and the creation of a regional youth
Both the business networks and the networks in the HRD area have support staff in the ICA Regional office, and they are interconnected through intranet platforms for the exclusive use of members.
In November 1997, the Regional Conference on Cooperatives Facing Unemployment was held in Mexico. It was attended by over 900 cooperatives leaders, managers and members who were given the chance of sharing experiences and defining joint strategies.
The Regional Office has vigorously promoted the declaration of co-operative identity, through electronic means, posters and publications. This activity is strongly supported by the members at the national level.
ROAM’s work has been made possible thanks to the contribution of member organisations and different organizations such as: Swedish Cooperative Centre, Desjardin International Development, Canadian Cooperative Association, ILO COOPNET Programme, UNDP, Interamerican Institute for Agricultural Cooperation IICA, G77 from United Nations, Associazione Nazionale Cooperative di Consumatori (ANCC), CWS.
Within the Americas, the work of the International Co-operative Alliance is more and more recognized because of its positive impact on co-operative development in the region.