***The Environment and Sustainable Development*** **Report to the 1992 ICA Congress** *Summary* 1. Background While the deteriorating condition of the natural environment has been a concern of many ICA member organisations for a considerable period of time, the topic first appeared on the agenda of the ICA itself during the 1990 Central Committee meeting in Madrid. Following an extensive discussion, members adopted a resolution which expressed their concern about the critical state of the environment, stressed the inter-related nature of environment and development issues, and called upon ICA member organisations to "join in local, national, regional and international efforts to address the issues of environment and development, and take measures to stop the degradation of the human and natural environment." ICA was asked to serve as a centre of information exchange in this area. In conjunction with the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Brazil in June 1992, ICA coordinated a co-operative participation which included presentation of a co-operative position paper to the U.N. conference, holding of a two-day co-operative seminar at the parallel meeting of non-governmental organisations, facilitating a co-operative exhibition organised by the ICA Consumer Committee and member organisations, publication of a special environment newsletter, and participation in seminars organised by other organisations. 2. Co-operatives in the Asia-Pacific Region During recent years the ICA Regional Office for Asia-Pacific, along with many of the 56 national organisations affiliated to ICA in the region, have undertaken a number of initiatives. The Asia-Pacific region has major environmental problems. With over half of the world's total population, and almost three-quarters of the world's agricultural population, the region has less than one-third of the world's arable and permanently cropped land. The population of the region is expected to have doubled from 1980 levels by the year 2000. Faced with the twin problems of population pressure and land scarcity, the region's main response has been to increase agricultural production by intensifying cultivation on a more-or-less fixed land resource base. But there are questions about whether this continued growth in agriculture, fisheries, and forestry development can be continued in a sustainable and environmentally-sound manner. Two particularly acute problems are deforestation and use of pesticides. Deforestation is greatest in Indonesia, with a mean annual deforestation of over half a million hectares, followed by Thailand, Malaysia, India, Laos, and Philippines. In 1985 the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 16 percent of the world's pesticide market. By 1995 developing countries in the region are expected to double their expenditures on pesticides, thereby increasing the negative effects on human health, the environment, and pest resistance. In 1990 the ICA Regional Office published a small brochure, entitled "A Place to Live", written by Dr. Daman Prakash, the office's Development Planning and Coordination adviser. This attempt to sensitise co-operative members in the region has already been translated and published in Japanese, Hindi, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia, and serialised in many co-operative journals in the region. Co-operative movements are also beginning their own programmes. Dr. Prakash has contributed this report on their activities to the Congress. (a) India The Indian Farmers' Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) has launched a farm forestry project designed to demonstrate the viability of afforestation on waste-land and sub-marginal lands. To date 33 primary co-operative societies have been organised and 4,040 hectares of waste-land have been put under green cover. The co-operatives provide irrigation facilities, product marketing, and educational programmes for their members. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has initiated a pilot project on Tree-Growers' Co-operatives in five states. More than 100 co-operatives have been registered and 1.75 million trees planted. The co-operatives have emphasised training programmes for members, and particularly for women. (b) Philippines The National Confederation of Co-operatives (NATCCO) has actively encouraged its member co-operatives to introduce environment-friendly programmes, including use of organic fertilisers. It is considering adding a new requirement for membership in a co-operative--a promise to plant an agreed number of trees. The Co-operative Union of the Philippines (CUP) and its members are initiating programmes for water resource recovery and utilisation. CUP is preparing model co-operative by-laws that include environment protection, and is including environment protection in co-operative training materials. The National Market Vendor's Service Co-operative has begun collaboration with local governments to improve health and sanitation standards in the public and private markets where its members operate, and is promoting a biodegradable laundry soap ('Co-op Soap") which is sold at prices lower than the leading brands. The Philippine Federation of Credit Co-operatives is advising farmers and fishermen to use organic fertilisers and appropriate fishing methods. (c) Thailand Reforestation has become the main area of environmental activity among co-operatives in Thailand. The government's Co-operative Promotion Department has encouraged land settlement co-operatives to undertake reforestation activities. The planting of bamboo trees in idle public land will improve land fertility as well as members' incomes. In other areas the planting of fruit and teak trees is being promoted. By 1991 the project had resulted in the planting of some three million trees. Rural electric co-operatives are another important vehicle to improve people's awareness of forestry protection at the same time as they produce an important product. Members of rural electric co-operatives have learnt that a healthy forest will build up the watershed that will in turn enable them to generate electricity. (d) People's Republic of China The All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives has taken the lead in promoting the recovery and utilisation of waste materials. The Shanghai Resource Recovery and Utilisation Company, a co-operative subsidiary, is the country's leader in waste resource recovery. At present 16 categories of reclaimable waste material are processed and recycled--scrap ferrous and non-ferrous metals, rubber, plastics, paper, cotton, hemp, rags, chemical residues, domestic animal bones, human hair, glass bottles, machines, machine parts, and acids. Since its establishment in 1956 the company has reclaimed more than 37 million tons of waste materials with a value of more than 12.6 billion Yuan. The re-use of these materials has saved an amount of energy comparable to 23.62 million tons of standard coal. In March 1991 the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives and the ICA Regional Office jointly organised a regional training workshop on waste resource recycling. Participants from India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand were able to study how grass-roots supply and marketing co-operatives in China have been able to organise and manage the extensive network of waste material purchasing stations that are required for such a programme. The All-China Federation and ICA have agreed to follow up the workshop with technical assistance missions to Thailand and Philippines in order to assist these co-operative movements to establish their own waste resource recycling programmes. (d) Future Work The ICA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with the Canadian Co-operative Association, has decided to undertake an in-depth study of five countries in the region--India, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Japan. The study will be a participatory exercise with ICA member organisaed by the Board, subtions in these countries designed to document the current involvement of co-operatives in dealing with environmental issues and to establish national and regional plans for future action. The study should also have an important educational benefit for co-operatives throughout the region. 3. Environmental Problems and Japanese Co-operative Movements (a) Background Members of four sectors of Japanese co-operatives--agricultural, forest owners, fishery, and consumers--have prepared a report for the Tokyo Congress in order to demonstrate their commitment that co-operatives must play a leading role in environment conservation activities, in harmony with sustainable development. Japanese co-operatives are committed to supporting environment programmes from a family, regional, national, and global level. In the course of its modernisation, Japan has experienced many pollution problems. From the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the end of World War II in 1945, industrial development and military expansion took precedence, thereby causing many pollution problems including the greatest destroyer of the environment--war. During the post-war period, high economic growth was combined with an explosive increase in all kinds of industrial pollution as well as urbanisation. Japan became known as a "Pollution Archipelago". The two oil crises in 1973 and 1978 forced Japan to reconsider its mode of economic growth based on mass energy consumption. Government and industry standards were introduced and strengthened. Japan's standards for automobile emissions became the strictest in the world, thereby accelerating the development of automobiles with low fuel consumption and low pollution. Japanese people began to reflect upon their consumption-oriented society and values. Although the environmental situation has improved considerably through pollution prevention measures, the destruction of the natural environment continues in many areas. Air and water pollution have increased since 1986. Disposal of industrial and domestic waste--the "garbage war"--is a serious problem. Building of resorts and highways have further damaged land and wildlife. Rural industries--agriculture, forestry, and fisheries--are suffering from the effects of urbanisation and pollution. (b) The Global Challenge At the Earth Summit, the Japanese government expressed its intention to contribute to the establishment of an international framework, including increased development assistance, to deal with global environmental problems. The Federation of Economic Organisations has established a charter designed to limit the export of pollution. At the 1992 Global Forum, Japan announced an "Earth Charter" of Japanese citizens, based on the following concept: "We who live in the materially affluent countries of the north must, first of all, endeavour to mend our own wasteful life styles and at the same time spare no effort to extend assistance to the people of the countries of the south who have been cornered as a result of our material desire to grope for a new way of life...." (c) Environmental Problems and Japanese Co-operatives Since 1988 agricultural co-operatives in Japan have been committed to "3-H Agriculture"--healthy, high quality, and high technology. They and their members are involved in improving soil productivity and reducing the amount of fertilizer used; reducing the use of chemicals; safety and hazard prevention measures; development of new fertilizers; and development of livestock treatment facilities and materials. In mountainous regions, the area of newly-cultivated land is on the increase. Forest-owners' co-operatives are leading the effort to replant the country's forests. They are also carrying out thinning operations and processing small-diameter wood in order to maintain healthy forests. In 1989 the national convention of forest owners' co-operatives adopted a resolution aimed at "enlivening forests" by promoting the growth of mushrooms and edible wild plants, as well as other techniques to make the forests accessible and useful to people. Since 1983 Japanese fisheries co-operatives have been committed to the stand that "fishermen themselves will tackle the question of environment conservation in a more positive manner". Under their present three-year action programme, fisheries co-operatives have established an environment conservation and monitoring system for fishing grounds, have created an environment assessment system, have opposed the use of synthetic detergents, and have promoted the planting of trees. Consumers' co-operatives have developed a uniform slogan of "Let us Watch our Life and the Earth". They have developed more than 180 environment-friendly products. In 1991 the Japanese Consumers' Co-operative Union sold 7 billion Yen worth of merchandise made from recycled paper. A co-operative electric car development company was established with investments from 50 consumers' co-operatives throughout the country. Shops operated by the agricultural and fisheries co-operatives are also emphasizing recycled and environment-friendly products. (d) Co-operative Members' Participation Co-operative organisations' efforts have been based on the premise that their members must become directly involved in environment problems in their daily life and consumption. Since the 1970s, women's associations from all sectors have carried out a "Water/Environment Protection" drive based on monitoring the discharge of domestic waste water and exchanging information on the life style that causes water pollution. Agricultural co-operatives have offered rice-planting and vacation village opportunities for the children of members of consumers' co-operatives living in cities. Fishery co-operative members and officials have been carrying out a beach-cleaning campaign. Forest owners' co-operative associations are inviting city people into the forests for pruning and educational activities. Consumers' co-operatives alone recovered 120 million milk packages from their members during their 1991 recycling drive. They are promoting member awareness and understanding by organising study tours to water treatment and sewage treatment plants, organising environment funds, and conducting their own simple measurement tests of acid rain and air pollution. (e) Co-operatives' Basic View of Environmental Problems Co-operatives in Japan declare that their 25 million members will, through a united effort, intensify their campaigns and environmental activities in every field of their business operations and will make every effort to strengthen global solidarity and international relationships between co-operatives in different countries of the world. Co-operatives, established for the purpose of enabling members to meet their basic needs, have social responsibilities to create communities in which people can enjoy a high quality of life. The environment is part of the social responsibility of co-operatives. Concrete actions must be implemented in many ways: economic business activities, people's participation, and national and international co-operation. However, as there is a limit to the environment conservation activities that co-operatives can carry out themselves, it is important to obtain co-operation of governmental authorities and other businesses, as well as wide-ranging popular support. (f) Co-operatives' Environmental Plans Through study courses, the 25 million members of Japanese co-operatives will learn about the effect of the environment on their daily lives, and will launch a drive for consumption practises that protect the environment. They will also participate in fund-raising campaigns to support the effort of developing countries for sustainable development. In their business activities the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and consumer co-operatives will emphasize production technologies, pricing policies, products, distribution systems, and other techniques which will strengthen the long-term future of these industries. Given their increasing concern about high population increases and a worsening environment in Asia, Japanese co-operatives are determined to participate positively in environment consevation movements of co-operatives in Asian countries who are in need of development. Japanese co-operatives will give positive assistance to the International Co-operative Alliance for its role, in collaboration with environment efforts of co-operatives at the global level, to strengthen international co-operative collaboration towards a sustainable "common future". Japanese co-operatives will participate in environment/development activities organised by ICA in such areas as exchange of information and experience, regional workshops, development of action programmes, supply of technologies, and development of human resources. As well, a promotional system consisting of the four co-operative sectors--agriculture, forest owners', fishery, and consumers' co-operatives-- will be establshed to promote co-operatives' environmental efforts. A "Co-operative Environment Campaign Fund" will be established to support co-operatives' domestic and international environment activities. 4. Co-operative Values and Development Aid (a) Background This paper, prepared by Hans-H. Munkner of Marburg University, Germany, emphasises the need for continued efforts to strengthen the development of independent, autonomous co-operatives that are capable of responding to the needs and interests of their members. For decades development assistance to co-operatives has mainly meant aid to state-controlled co-operatives in highly centralised, paternalistic, and bureaucratic regimes. These organisations had little in common with the ideal of voluntary, self-reliant, self-managed, member oriented, and democratically-controlled self-help organisations--which co-operative societies should be if they follow co-operative principles and respect the basic co-operative values. During the colonial period, state-sponsored and state-controlled co-operatives were introduced to bring local people closer to the norms and values of their colonial masters--without, however, granting them the independence and autonomy to make their own decisions. After independence, the newly-established governments continued to use co-operatives as development tools and control mechanisms, applying the same or similar rules as the former colonial administrations. Development agencies and non-governmental organisations have also used co-operatives as instruments for channelling their aid and technical assistance to target groups of their choice, with goals and priorities fixed by the donors in agreement with recipient governments. Again, such co-operatives were seen by the local population as alien institutions, following their own foreign rules and measures, which had to be accepted and applied not because they were considered to be reasonable and useful but rather as a pre-condition to qualify for external aid. Autonomous, self-managed co-operatives, operating with their members' own resources to achieve goals set by their members and democratically controlled by them, although proclaimed as the ultimate objective of all development efforts, have been and still are the exception rathern than the rule. (b) Co-operative Values and External Aid Promoting co-operatives means helping co-operators to help themselves. However, the idea of "aided self-help" is an ambiguous concept and difficult to put into practice. How to give co-operatives aid and encouragement without negative effects on their independence and self-reliance remains an open question. It is especially unclear how far and for how long government assstance to co-operatives should go, and whether it can be effective at all. In theory policy-makers and development planners accept basic co-operative values. In practise, however, things look different. Although it is agreed in principle that co-operatives should ultimately become autonomous, self-help organisations, government is not prepared to reduce its powers over co-operatives. Even though co-operatives are to promote the economic interests of their members, often they are expected and even forced to work also in the public interest--especially in the case of co-operative produce marketing societies. While supposed to follow the principle of voluntary membership, co-operatives are sometimes given monopolies for supply and marketing of certain commodities, making membership a must. Finally, democratic control becomes impossible when strict government powers leave little room for self-management. (c) Government Policy Governments' co-operative development policies are frequently based on inconsistent and unrealistic assumptions. With few exceptions co-operative legislation dating back to colonial times has not been thoroughly amended. In many countries government officials are underpaid, demotivated inspectors with a paternalistic and bureaucratic approach to their work. Often development aid is equated to investment in physical structures such as buildings, processing plants, and equipment. Short-term, isolated education and training programmes without follow-up are usually ineffective. (d) Instruments of Self-Help Promotion Experience has shown that government services used in the past for initiating, supervising, and controlling co-operatives cannot be easily transformed into instruments for the promotion of self-reliant co-operatives. The actual tasks of self-help promotion--information, education, training, advice--require specialists experienced in co-operative extension work, adult education, and co-operative management--i.e. a corps of professional self-help promotors which need either attractive service conditions as a specialised branch of government administration or to operate outside government structures in an autonomous, co-operative service centre. If such co-operative service centres were financed by the proceeds of trust funds (provided by foreign donors) and fees charged for their services, and if they were structured in such a way that co-operatives could take over such centres (for example by buying shares until they hold the majority), mistakes of the past could be avoided. Promoting the development of self-reliant co-operatives is a process that works through a combination of instruments which have to be simultaneously applied. The exact combination depends on the stage of development and local conditions, and can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. In his book "Self-Help Promotion", Koenraad Verhagen mentions a total of eight instruments for self-help promotion. They include identification of target groups, participatory research and planning, education and mutual training in self-help promotion, resource provision, management consultancy, linkage-building with third parties, process extension (spreading the knowledge about good ideas), and movement building (vertical and horizantal integration). (e) Consequences for Development Strategies For the past several years structural adjustment has been seen by development agencies as a precondition for overcoming stagnation and decline. This includes reducing government expenditures, decreasing government tasks, simplifying administrative procedures, liberalising markets, and encouraging private initiatives. Although structural adjustment programmes bring hardship mainly to the poorest strata of the popuation, they also offer citizens the chance to take their destiny in their own hands and to use their newly-acquired autonomy to form self-help organisations (co-operatives, associations, pressure groups, trade unions, and political parties) to protect their legitimate interests. The basic co-operative values--such as self- help and mutual assistance, liberty and voluntariness, equity and democracy--are identical with most of the general ideas underlying structural adjustment programmes. At the same time the reduction of government influence and control remove the main obstacles in the way of the development of self-reliant co-operatives. However, if donors of development aid want to promote self-reliant co-operatives operating in line with basic co-operative values, they have to reorient their programmes and projects for co-operative development. They will have to abandon technical and financial assistance to government services and other bureaucratic institutions, and instead use instruments appropriate for the promotion of self-reliant, member-based co-operatives. In a paper on the role of ICA in promoting co-operative development in West Africa, former Regional Director Babacar N'Diaye stated that, "The main objective of the ICA policy is the creation and expansion of independent, democratic, and economically-viable organisations in which men and women can participate on an equal footing. These organisations should be capable of serving their members efficiently and contribute to social justice in the respective country." For donors of development aid to co-operatives, this means that the working conditions and the climate for co-operative societies have to be improved by way of dialogue between the self-help promotors on the one hand and the policy-makers, development planners, and administrators on the other. Links have to be established among these actors. Co-operatives have to be recognised by government as private self-help organisations and as a positive economic and social force promoting primarily the well-being of their members but also contributing considerably to the overall development of the country. Based on empirical research, and in dialogue between self-help promotors and the potential members, appropriate forms of self-help have to be identified. In this way self-help promotors have to be trained to act as development entrepreneurs and cosultants who can identify opportunities to mobilise local resources, which the members of co-operatives can produce for their own benefit. FAO's AMSAC programme (Appropriate Management System for Agricultural Co-operatives) could serve as a guide for a constructive co-operative development policy and for aid to co-operatives which does not have negative effects on their independence.