Report from the Americas Region

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         October, 1996

     (Source: Review of International Co-operation, Vol.89,
     No.3/1996, p.45-47)

                        The Americas
                        ************

                      Juan Diego Pacheco
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ROAM Activities
----------------
During the last year and following the mandate of the members
of the region, the Regional Office of ICA for the Americas
promoted the repositioning of the co-operative model in the
new economic, political, social and commercial environment. At
the same time, it provided support to its members in areas
like diffusion and defense of the co-operative identity, the
promotion of co-operative trade and business, and human
resource development.

Co-op Identity
--------------
In the area of co-operative identity, it achieved its purpose
of promoting the diffusion of the declaration of the
co-operative identity adopted in Manchester as well as the
documents related to it. It also distributed over 50,000
commemorative editions, popular and pocket books as well as
their corresponding diskettes throughout the entire continent.
At the same time, posters and post cards, most of them coming
from co-operative web sites, and pages in hundreds of
magazines have complemented this task at the continental
level. The Vice-President for the Americas, Dr. Roberto
Rodrigues, has personally assumed the official presentation of
the declaration before governments and official authorities.
The declaration was well received in all forums, but it is
only now that the analysis and discussion process is beginning
at the sectorial and sub-regional level, so that the
declaration will have a larger and better impact on the goals
and daily activities of the co-operative enterprises of the
Americas.


Membership
----------
Membership has shown a 25% growth during 1995. This confirms
the growing interest of the co-operative organizations in
coming closer at a continental and global level. At the same
time, it confirms the response that ICA has provided to this
expectation.  All the regional members received direct
attention from ROAM which brings permanent information,
coordinates inter-sectorial relationships and promotes
projects and activities with the intention of making evident
the direct benefits of being an ICA member.

HRD Programme
-------------
The human resource development programme has concentrated its
efforts in the elaboration of a continental strategy for human
resource development within co-operative enterprises. Based on
the research and consultation processes, the Continental
Meeting of Human Resource Development strategy in
Co-operatives (Lima, July, 1996) identified five main
components for ICA work within this field: information
networks, support of the formulation of resource development,
plans in an entrepreneurial and economic co-operative level,
research, gender, and work with young people.  The electronic
network that has been developing since March has proved to be
very interesting and registers new members each day,
(http:\\www.rep.net.pe/aci). The ICA ROAM Web pages depict new
activities as well as inviting people to participate in the
different forums that take place throughout the year.  

Gender Programme
----------------
Gender work has been reoriented to create new products and
materials that support the existing groups and networks. The
self-esteem tapes, the sexicoop game and reports on the
situation of co-operative women in various countries and
regions in the continent have been in great demand and
acknowledged for their value. In November 1996, at the same
time as the Annual Regional Conference, ICA ROAM is organising
a Continental Forum of Women Co-operators. It has also begun
to explore the feasibility of creating networks for women
groups in the Andean Pact and Mercosur based on the experience
developed in Central America and the Caribbean.

With the purpose of supporting its members, ROAM has developed
a group of six manuals that, given its format and contents,
allows the easy access of different topics related with HRD. 
This material is now available in Spanish and has obtained a
positive evaluation and an increasing demand.

Co-operative Business and Trade
--------------------------------
In the area of  Co-operative Businesses and Trade, the
regional conference "Strategic Alliances" was held in Miami,
December 1995. With the attendance of more than 800 managers
and leaders of the Americas, it established the importance of
taking advantage of co-operatives' own growth potential. It
also worked to better consolidate technological, financial and
personnel exchanges in the corresponding markets through
strategic alliances. The information held in the publications
"Doing Business" permitted 56 round table negotiations towards
improving contact among the participants.

As a result of the different activities in the business area
and the diverse consultation processes that took place, it is
evident that ROAM needs to consolidate a sectorial approach to
ICA's work in the region. The identification and articulation
among co-operatives, leaders and support organizations
according to each sector is now the priority in the work of
the region.

Nowadays, the insurance sector is working under Mr. Julio
Enrique Medrano from Seguros la Equidad, Colombia. It is a
model for the development of other sectors. The banking sector
works with committees from north and south of the American
continent.

The agricultural committee is beginning under the leadership
of Mr. Dejandir Dalpasquale of OCB. Work will begin in the
health sector under the leadership of Mr. Edmundo Castilho
from UNIMED.

The business guides regarding the Latin American co-operatives
are being distributed in English, French and Spanish and they
can be seen on ICA's Web site.

Sponsors
---------
ROAM activities take place thanks to the close technical and
financial help of the Swedish Co-operative Center (SCC),
Desjardin International Development (DID), Canadian
International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Canadian
Co-operative Association (CCA).

Regional Conference
-------------------
In November 1996, ROAM is organising a regional conference on
"Deglobalization: Global Challenge, Local Markets", to define
strategies in terms of how co-operative enterprises can
benefit from globalization conditions to consolidate their
businesses at a local level. The Continental Forum of "How
Many Are We in the Americas" will take place right before this
activity and it is organized by the gender program.

1996-2000 Strategic Plan
------------------------
The 1996-2000 Strategic Plan is already prepared and it should
be adopted by the Second Regional Assembly of the Americas
next November. This should provide the definition and
necessary  goals for the work of the ICA in the Americas
during that period.