ICA: Regional Assembly Minutes, 1994

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                       15 September 1995

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

B. 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 two times
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.

C. 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).

D. 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
DiMeglio (ILO).

E. 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).

F. 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.

G. 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.

H. 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.

I. 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.

J. 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.

K. 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.

L. 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.

M. 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.