ICA: Regional Assembly Minutes, January 1995

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         15 September 1995
              ICA Regional Assembly for Asia & Pacific
                              New Delhi 
                          January 5-6, 1995
1.  Opening Ceremonies
B.S. Vishwanathan, President of the National Co-operative
Union of India (NCUI), welcomed the 112 participants and
described some of the new banking, insurance, and trade
initiatives being undertaken by the Indian co-operative
Yang Deshou, Chairman of the Regional Assembly, described how
the new ICA structure is designed to help co-operative
movements deal with challenges arising from new economic and
social developments.
Mitsugu Horiuchi, ICA Vice-President, spoke of the growing
importance of regional issues and appealed to members to
support ICA during this challenging time.
Lars Marcus, ICA President, described the global trends facing
co-operatives and said that the new ICA structure is
essentially based on promoting collaboration among
co-operatives with similar interests.
Dr. Juergen von Muralt, Director of Enterprise and
Co-operative Development, ILO, spoke of the growing
collaboration between ICA and ILO.
G.K. Sharma, ICA Regional Director, described the role of the
ICA Regional Assembly for Asia and the Pacific, which now
represents co-operatives in 25 countries, 62 member
organisations, and 460 million individual members.
Dr. Bal Ram Jakhar, Union Minister for Agriculture, said that
new co-operative legislation would soon be presented to
Arvind Netam, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and
Co-operation, discussed how various changes in government
policy would affect co-operatives.
B.D. Sharma, Chief Executive of NCUI, expressed his thanks to
the hosts and organisers of the Regional Assembly for their
support and collaboration.
2. Approval of Agenda
The items listed in the circulated agenda were approved.
3. Confirmation of Minutes
The Minutes of the Regional Consultation held in Beijing on
21-22 April, 1993, were confirmed.
4. Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman
By unanimous decison B.S. Vishwanathan (India) was elected as
Chairman of the Regional Assembly for the next two years, and
Professor Ungku Aziz (Malaysia) was elected Vice-Chairman.
5. Rules of the Regional Assembly
The representatives agreed to some amendments to the draft
Rules regarding definition of "Governing Body" and the
possibility of inviting associate members, observers, and
special invitees to attend.
After interventions from India, Malaysia, and Pakistan, the
Rules of the Regional Assembly were approved. 
6. Rules of the Executive Council
The draft rules of the Executive Council, including an
amendment regarding membership of the ICA Vice-President from
the region, were approved.
7. Consideration of the "Co-operative Charter"
The ICA Director-General, Bruce Thordarson, described the
background and process of the current review of the
co-operative principles.  Dr. Y. Paz, member of the Resource
Group working with Dr. Ian MacPherson, highlighted the
proposals contained in the third draft of the "Co-operative
Identity Statement".
During the discussion, participants emphasised the following
points:  the importance of participatory democracy and
autonomy (S. Takemoto, JCCU, Japan); the desirability of
maintaining the principle of limited interest on share capital
(Y. Kato, Zenkyoren, Japan), the importance of service and
honesty (S. Chandra, Fishcopfed, India); the importance of
democratic forms of management (K. Uchida, Jigyodan, Japan);
the need to identify basic values that are universally applicable 
Dr. R.C. Dwivedi,India); the distinctiveness of Asian values 
U. Aziz, Angkasa, Malaysia); and the importance of applying ethics to 
business practises (Y. Paz, Israel).
8. Three-year Development Programme of ICA ROAP
The ICA Regional Director and Project Advisors described the
Regional Office's development programme and its eight
technical projects: Policy Development and Legislation,
Development Planning and Coordination, Agricultural
Co-operative Development, Consumer Co-operative Development,
Human Resource Development, Gender Integration, Agricultural
Management Training, and Rural Women Leaders' Training.  Other
activities are undertaken in the areas of environment and
worker-owned enterprise.
K. Fogelstroem of the Swedish Co-operative Centre (SCC) said
that a recent SCC-sponsored evaluation of the ICA's
development programme was generally positive but that
weaknesses existed in the areas of planning, establishment of
performance indicators, and donor coordination.  He said that
SCC's future approach towards ICA would involve supporting
activities rather than institutional development, and that
this approach would include a gradual shift of SCC's support
from Asia to Africa.
B.D. Sharma (India) requested ROAP to be more active in
undertaking studies on taxation, and supporting insurance and
data bank activities in India.  He proposed that the HRD
project work more with national organisations instead of
training institutions.
9. Report on IDACA Activities
The Regional Director, G.K. Sharma, described the nine courses
completed during 1993 by the Institute for the Development of
Agricultural Co-operation in Asia, including three that were
carried out in collaboration with ICA-ROAP.
10. Consideration of the Paper "The Conversion Syndrome"
The Regional Director introduced the paper prepared by Mr.
Garry Cronan, Registrar of Co-operatives in New South Wales,
Australia, concerning the tendency for Australian
co-operatives to convert into investor-owned firms.
During the discussion, the participants emphasised the
following points: concern over the current proposals in India
to establish "co-operative companies" (S. Sisodia, India); the
need to strengthen co-operative identity (Han Seung-Hee,
Korea); the importance of honesty in co-operative businesses
(U. Aziz, Malaysia); the need for co-operative education (Y.
Paz, Israel); the need for greater efficiency instead of
structural change (B.D. Sharma, India); experiences of
collaboration with joint-stock-companies (Lim Ho Seng,
Singapore); the preferability of working with co-operative
partners (Wahiduddin Wahab, Malaysia); the role of
co-operatives in serving poor people (Ahmed, Pakistan); the
problems of increasing competition (Kim Jong-Jim, Korea); and
the need for greater integration among state and national
co-operative laws (R. Shanker, India).
11. Report on the Third Co-operative Ministers' Conference
Robby Tulus, ROAP Senior Policy Advisor, summarised the
conclusions and the recommendations of the July 1994
ministerial conference, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in four
major areas: government-cooperative relationship,
co-operatives in the market-oriented economy, regional
coordination, and international co-operation.  The next
conference is scheduled to be held in Thailand.
12. Draft Proposal for Recognition of Co-operatives by ICA
The Regional Director reported that the Executive Committee
had recommended the appointment of a small committee to
examine the proposal.  The recommendations of the Committee as
circulated were agreed.
13. World Summit for Social Development
Dr. Daman Prakash of ICA-ROAP described the background to the
UN's March 1995 Social Summit and the role which co-operatives
could play in influencing and implementing the meeting's
themes of poverty alleviation, employment creation, and social
integration. In response to a question from B.D. Sharma about
co-operative participation at the Social Summit, Bruce
Thordarson reported that ICA would be represented both at the
official meeting and at the parallel NGO forum in Copenhagen.
14. Profile of Co-operatives in India
The National Co-operative Union of India provided information
on the co-operative movement in India, which officially
includes some 350,000 co-operatives with a membership of 164
15. Any Other Business
M. Horiuchi announced his intention to retire as ICA
Vice-President at the Manchester Congress in September 1995. 
He proposed that Mr. Hakaru Toyoda, President of JA Zenchu, be
nominated by the region to succeed him for the remaining two
years of his term.  This was moved by Mr. Vishwanathan,
seconded by Dr. Paz, and agreed.
M. Ohya (JCCU) described his proposal to establish an ad hoc
Advisory Committee that would review the structure and
operation of the Regional Office, and make recommendations to
the Regional Director.  Mr. Sharma and Mr. Yang spoke in
favour of this proposal, which was accepted.
Kyu E. Lee, Chairman of the Korean Federation of Community
Credit Unions, introduced his organisation, which had been
admitted into ICA membership in 1994.
Yang Deshou (China) announced that the All-China Federation of
Supply and Marketing Co-operatives had been separated from the
Ministry of Agriculture at the beginning of 1995, and that
plans were underway for the first Chinese Co-operative
Congress, to be held in May or June of this year, in order to
finalise the restructuring of the movement.  He invited all
participants to attend the Congress and indicated that in the
future the Chinese co-operatives would be able to place more
emphasis on international activities.  Mr. Yang also expressed
thanks for the support he had received as Chairman of the
Regional Assembly.
16. Next Meeting
Professor U. Aziz, Vice-Chairman of the Regional Assembly,
proposed that the 1996 Regional Assembly be held in Malaysia,
at a date to be determined.  This was agreed.
17. Closing
Vishwanathan thanked the participants and organisers for a
successful meeting, and closed the Regional Assembly.