Message from the Regional Director (1997)

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This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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February, 1997
(Source: ICA in Asia and the Pacific -Annual Report 1996)

			Message from the Regional Director
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The year 1996 was instrumental in gathering moral strength 
of co-operatives and co-operators worldwide as they sought 
to put the 1995 ICA Statement on Co-operative Identity 
into practice. Meanwhile, ICA ROAP conducted its second 
Meeting of the Regional Assembly on 13th and 14th 
June, 1996, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. During this meeting,
the importance of the Identity Statement was once again 
confirmed by members in the region as they made serious 
efforts to translate the Identify Statement into various local 
languages, initiated campaigns to familiarize members and the 
public about this new Identity, and consult governments to 
include this Identify Statement into their respective co-operative 
laws. The Regional Assembly made it evident that members 
are committed to fortify their operations by putting the new 
Co-operative Identity Statement into practice. It suggests, at the 
same time, their genuine support of the role of ICA as custodian 
of the co-operative values and principles.

The other important role ICA is expected to perform is to offer the 
best possible services to its members. In 1996, as well as in the past, 
ICA ROAP offered important development services in the field of 
Human Resource Development, Policy Development and Legislation,
Gender Integration, Consumer Co-operatives, Agricultural Co-
operatives, and Commercial co-operation and Trade. As external 
funding for development services are slowly being trimmed owing 
to cutbacks at various international partner agencies, ICA ROAP 
will have to look more carefully into providing better quality 
and value-added services that will strengthen its members, 
especially at a time when competition emerging from the 
gloablized economy has narrowed down business opportunities 
to many co-operatives. 

The Advisory Committee, established at the ICA ROAP First 
Regional Assembly in January 1995, reaffirmed the above 
perspective in its report on the policy direction of ICA ROAP 
at the Second Regional Assembly in June, 1996. Consequently, 
a Standing Committee of the Executive Council was formed at the 
Regional Assembly to replace the Advisory Committee, with the 
purpose of providing guidance and direction to the Executive 
Council for overseeing the work of ICA ROAP.

1996 also saw some important changes in the staffing of ICA 
ROAP. Mr. Pradit Machima reached his retirement age and has 
returned home to Thailand. His role as Consumer Co-op Advisor
has been replaced by Mr. Upali Herath, who will continue to 
assume his role as the HRD Advisor as well. Mr. Malte Jonsson, 
Senior Development Advisor, has returned home to Sweden and 
assumes new duties at the Swedish Co-operative Center.

Mr. G.K. Sharma, who served as Regional Director over a period 
of nine consecutive years since 1987, has been replaced by 
Mr. Robby Tulus with effect from October 01, 1996. A note 
of appreciation for the contribution and dedicated work of 
Mr. Sharma was conferred by Mr. Graham Melmoth, President 
of ICA, following the announcement. Mr. Tulus began assuming 
his new position as the Regional Director from October 01, 1996. 
With new challenges ahead, and with the number of senior 
management staff reduced, the call for greater efficiency and 
higher productivity becomes inevitable.

1996 was indeed a year where new grounds were broken. It was 
a year with the new Co-operative Identity Statement had inspired 
so many co-operators to advance the co-operative cause. It was 
a year when challenges to co-operatives from the globalized 
economy was countered by a forward-looking study on 
co-operative legislation and competitiveness, as well as relevant 
seminars and symposia, and subsequently debated upon at 
the ICA Regional Consultation towards the end of 1996 in 
Myanmar.

And as co-operatives in this region prepare to drive forward 
on the unfamiliar terrain that lies ahead, it becomes clear that 
co-operatives are going to require an innovative and renewed 
business development vehicle with some very different driving 
skills and a whole new sense of direction. But, even more 
fundamentally, we will need to challenge all our personal and 
managerial assumptions about the world we are heading into.
 
In short, we need to rethink the future. Since the future is so 
all encompassing, ICA ROAP needs to gather fresh views and 
insights from its members in order to identify their future needs, 
to map out our development strategy on that basis, and to 
refocus its efforts. We at ICA ROAP must do so by working 
together with our members, our international co-operative 
partners, bilateral and multilateral agencies, government as 
well as non-government organizations. We must renew our 
commitment to advance growth and development of co-operatives 
which has an impact on our precious owners at the very base: 
members of primary co-operatives!

It is our earnest hope that 1997 may just create the right 
impetus for these changes to actually take place.

Robby Tulus
Regional Director