ICA Regional Assembly for the Americas

ICA Regional Assembly for the Americas
Sao Paulo, Brazil - November 21-22, 1994

Minutes


Opening Ceremony

The President of the Organisation of Co-operatives of Brazil (OCB), Dr.
Dejandir Dalpasquale, welcomed participants to the first meeting of the ICA
Regional Assembly for the Americas.

The President of the Organisation of Co-operatives of America (OCA), Dr.
Armando Tovar Parada, described how co-operatives in Latin America were
passing through a transition period in terms of challenges and
opportunities.

The ICA President, Lars Marcus, spoke of the global role of ICA and of the
importance of co-operatives in the current world environment.

A letter from the President-elect of the Republic of Brazil, Fernando
Henrique Cardoso, expressing the support of his government for the
important role of co-operatives, was read by Roberto Rodrigues.

The ICA Vice-President (Americas region), Roberto Rodrigues, described the
new ICA structure as an attempt to respect diversity within the world-wide
co-operative movement.

The state Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Synval Guazzelli, described how
co-operatives represent 10 percent of the Brazilian population and are
especially important in the agricultural sector.

The Governor of the State of Sao Paulo, Dr. Luiz Antonio Fleury Filho,
spoke of the importance of co-operatives in a modern economy.


Official Business

The Chairman of the Regional Assembly, Roberto Rodrigues, again welcomed
delegates and observers to the meeting.

The Agenda of the meeting was approved.

The Delegates and Representatives of National and International member
organisations introduced themselves.

The draft Regional Assembly Rules were presented and discussed.  After
interventions from Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, OCA,
and ALCECOOP, the draft Rules were approved, with the following additions:

-  The newly-established Consultative Committee should
   consist of one representative per ICA-member-country and
   international member organisation in the region, as well
   as the ICA Vice-President.

-  The President of the Consultative Committee, and of the
   Regional Assembly, should be the ICA Vice-President from
   the region.

-  The President should be able to appoint a substitute from
   among members of the Committee to act on his behalf.

-  The Consultative Committee should normally meet twice
   each year.

The implications of the new ICA structure in the Americas region were
presented by the ICA Director-General, Bruce Thordarson.  He said that the
Regional Office should in the future have a pan-American perspective, be
less donor-oriented, and regard itself as a network to support the work of
regional organisations, specialised bodies, and members.


Co-operative Principles and Values

Dr. Ian MacPherson described the current review of the Co-operative
Principles, which is designed to result in a Co-operative Declaration and
identity statement that will be approved by the 1995 Centennial Congress.

Comments were provided by Armando Tovar Parada (OCA), Norberto Falcon
(Co-operative League of Puerto Rico), and Miguel Cardoza (CUDECOOP,
Uruguay).


Human Resource Development

Dr. Arturo Munoz of ALCECOOP presented a detailed paper on the important
issues facing co-operatives in the field of human resource development.

Comments were provided by Ulises Alfaro (Costa Rica) and Roberto DiMegglio
(ILO).


Co-operative Business and Trade

Marcos Sawaya Jank of the University of Sao Paulo presented a paper on the
opportunities for improved co-operative participation in joint ventures and
international trade.

Comments were provided by Felix Cristia (CCC-CA), David Miller (NCBA,
U.S.A.), and Lynden Hillier (CCA, Canada).


OCB and the Brazilian Co-operative Movement

The OCB President, Dejandir Dalpasquale, described the important role
played by co-operatives in Brazil.  He presented awards to distinguished
Brazilian leaders, including the first president of OCB, Dr. Antonio
Rodrigues.


Reports from ICA Specialised Bodies

Yves Regis, President of CICOPA, described the work of CICOPA-AMERICA
LATINA in the southern cone region.

Barb Miller, member of the Women's Committee, proposed that a Women in the
Americas Congress should be held in conjunction with the 1996 ICA Regional
Assembly.

Juan Carlos Romano of the International Co-operative Banking Association's
Latin American committee, spoke about the initiation of business contacts
between co-operative banks in Latin America and Europe.

Americo Utumi, Secretary of the Agriculture Committee, described the
committee's work in developing a data bank on members' products and
exchange of personnel to explore commercial possibilities.

Hans Dahlberg, chief executive of the International Co-operative and Mutual
Insurance Federation, described the importance of insurance in economic
development and the 10 core functions of ICMIF.


Reports from International Organisations

Ghislain Paradis, Director-General of the Desjardins Development Society
(SDID), congratulated the ICA Regional Office and its Regional Director on
the significant accomplishments during the last five years.

Juan Jose Barrera of the Instituto Nacional de Formento de la Economia
Social, Spain, described some of the emerging links between Latin America
and Europe.

Manuel Marino of the Swedish Co-operative Centre said that ICA is playing
an important role in Latin America and that SCC intends to sign a 3-year
agreement for institutional support.

Lynden Hillier, Executive Director of the Canadian Co-operative
Association, said that CCA's international development activities were
based on the concept of partnership, and that the organisation has a major
interest in trade promotion.


Conclusions of the Workshops

Rapporteurs described the issues and conclusions which had emerged
during the half-day workshops held on the three themes of
Co-operative Principles, Human Resource Development, and Co-operative
Business and Trade.

Two representatives of university students who participated as
observers in the Assembly gave their impressions of the meeting and
of the need to increasingly combine co-operative theory and practise.

Roberto Rodrigues noted that all the reports led to the conclusion that
co-operatives needed to make significant changes in their working
procedures, while maintaining their social commitment, in order to be more
economically efficient.  ICA had to ensure that its own activities did not
overlap with those of other organisations.


Election of Consultative Committee

The Chairman said that, as it was unlikely that all member organisations
could immediately designate their representative for the Consultative
Committee, these nominations should be sent to him before the end of 1994.
He would then convoke a meeting of the Committee as soon as possible,
hopefully during the first quarter of 1995.  This procedure was accepted.


Presentation of ICA in the Americas

Juan Diego Pacheco, Regional Director of ROCAC, described the progress of
the work of the Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean since
its establishment five years earlier.

Cristina Simone, Director of POBA, described the Project Office in Buenos
Aires as a product and instrument of the new ICA structure, available to
help co-operatives in the Southern Cone.


Conclusion

Jimmy Lopez of Puerto Rico emphasised the important role of the
Specialised Organisations as focal points in the region.  Roberto
Rodrigues agreed that ICA's role was to assist them, to coordinate
activities as desired, and to act in areas not covered by others.

Armando Tovar Parada presented, on behalf of the OCA Board, a motion
that ICA should in the future have one office for the whole
continent, with project offices in sub-regions depending on needs and
resources, and that the location of the Regional Office should be
decided by the Consultative Committee.

Following interventions from the Chairman, Argentina, Uruguay, Puerto Rico,
Chile, and Canada, it was agreed by vote (7 in favour and 6 opposed) to
accept the motion as presented by OCA.

Roberto Rodrigues summarised the decision, noting that major policy
issues with financial implications such as this would have to be
referred to the ICA Board or General Assembly for final decision.

Roberto Talleres of Mexico asked for the floor in order to express his full
support for the work of the Chairman, Roberto Rodrigues.

Luis Arturo Munoz of ALCECOOP asked ICA to take steps to protect the
rainbow flag as a co-operative symbol.


Closing

The ICA President, Lars Marcus, expressed his satisfaction at the
progress made by the Regional Assembly, whose views would have a
major impact on the role of the Regional Office in the future.

The Regional Assembly Chairman, Roberto Rodrigues, expressed thanks
to CCA, to the participants, to the Ministry of Agriculture, to the
ICA-ROCAC staff, to the interpreters, and to the staff of the Latin
American Parliament for their contributions to a successful meeting. 
The Assembly was closed.