Report of the Communications Department

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

     (Source: Review of International Co-operation,
     Vol.89, No.3/1996, p.15-21)


                        Mary Treacy
                       Laura Wilcox
                      Alina Pawlowska

Activities in 1996 were inevitably dominated by follow up to
the ICA Centennial. Forward looking strategies have also been
investigated during the reporting period with a view to
bringing a stronger image of co-operatives into the 21st

New Corporate Image
To mark the new century ICA stationery and regular
publications have been redesigned, incorporating the newly
adopted logo, to give the organisation a  more dynamic and
business-like image to herald its entry into the new

UN/ICA International Co-operative Day
The International Co-operative Day Message, entitled
Co-operatives for Sustainable Development was sent to ICA
members and other key organisations in all of the ICA official

A press pack commemorating the International Co-operative
Day/UN International Day of Co-operatives was prepared and
circulated to ICA members, UN organisations and regional
offices, the co-op press, international media,
non-governmental organisations and government ministries
dealing with co-operation. The pack contained promotional
materials on the ICA, fact sheets on co-operatives and the
co-operative principles, the Co-op Day Message, the new
Statement of the Co-operative Identity, background information
sheets prepared by the United Nations Department for Policy
Co-ordination and Sustainable Development in collaboration
with the ICA, press articles on co-operatives, publicity for
new ICA publications and standards for the new ICA logo. 

New Co-operative Principles
Following the Board's Directive that disseminating the
Co-operative Principles should be given priority during the
follow-up to Congress, efforts were taken to distribute this
as widely as possible. 

The one page statement on the Co-operative Identity was
published by ICA in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian,
Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. Danish, Portuguese, Swedish,
Hungarian and Czech versions have been prepared for
publications and other language versions have been requested.
The translations were undertaken in collaboration with ICA
member organisations; other languages can be produced if the
text is provided to the Secretariat. All language versions
will eventually be available on the Internet.

A text-only version of the document "Co-operative Principles
for the 21st Century" (adopted at Manchester and incorporating
the Statement on the Co-operative Identity, Background Paper
on the Statement and the Principles of the International
Co-operative Movement and the Paper "Into the Twenty-First
Century - Co-operatives Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" has
been published in English, French, German and Spanish.

A special deluxe full colour, illustrated version has been
published in English and French. This contains over 150 black
and white and colour photos and has illustrated sections on
the history of the Co-operative Movement and of the
International Co-operative Alliance, various sectors such as
agriculture (dairy co-operatives in India), fisheries,
housing, worker co-ops, etc., the movement in East and Central
Europe and in developing countries, and issues such as
co-operative education, member relations, women and young
people, international relations, co-operation between
co-operatives, co-ops and the environment. 

The new principles have also been made available on the
Internet and this has enabled ICA to directly reach primary
level co-operatives; for example ICA has received reports from
local consumer co-ops which have down loaded the one page
identity statement for distribution (at cash points). 

Regular Publications

ICA News
Four issues of the ICA news have been published since the ICA
Congress including a special post-Congress issue. Issue No.
2/96 was a special issue for Habitat II which, in addition to
the normal circulation, was distributed at the official
Habitat II conference and the NGO Forum. Issue Number 4 is
currently under preparation. 

The first issue of the Spanish version has just been published

ICA Review
Four issues of the ICA Review (including this Annual Report)
have been issued since the last Congress. Issue No. 2/96 was
prepared in collaboration with the Research Committee. 

The Spanish issue of the Review continues to be published by

The English edition is available on microfilm from
Xerox-University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, USA. 

Other Publications
"The International Co-operative Alliance During War and Peace
1910 - 1950" was launched at the ICA Congress in September
1995. The book charts the ICA during the critical period of
1910 to 1950, from pre-war developments before the First World
War to the cold war period after the Second World War. It
shows the strains put on an international organisation
struggling to remain politically neutral when its members are
coming from countries which are at war and tries to shed light
on the reason the ICA survived this turmoil when other
international organisations did not.

Publications produced since the ICA Congress include:

-    The Co-operative Agenda 21, which reflects the commitment
     of co-operatives from all sectors to promoting
     environmental and development objectives setting
     guidelines on what each co-operative sector can do to
     raise public awareness and implement environmentally
     sustainable activities.

-    A Thematic Guide to the ICA Congresses 1895 - 1995, a
     summarised history of the issues, decisions and
     personalities which have shaped the evolution of the ICA
     as the representative of the world co-operative movement.

-    A new updated publication list and flyers describing the
     new publications.

Electronic Networking and the Internet
For the past two years the ICA has been incorporating the
Internet into its co-operative outreach programme and has been
working with the University of Wisconsin, Center for
Cooperatives to build up a Co-operative Gopher server, which
is a searchable database of articles and information on

The Director of Communications visited the UWCC in November
1995 and after sharing the Internet projects of ICA and UWCC
with representatives of the Madison-area co-operative
organisations, the UWCC and ICA have worked out a more formal
agreement for working together. ICA  will continue to provide
information from its members for inclusion in the Co-operative
Gopher while UWCC will set up and maintain ICA data bases on
the Gopher and provide technical assistance.

Besides ICA and its members, other organisations collaborating
on this project include COPAC and its members the UN, ILO,

The UWCC Co-operative Gopher can be reached at
gopher:// The
information is also available through the web sites maintained
by ICA ( and UWCC

In February 1996, the Electronic Networking Project was
expanded with the setting-up in Geneva of a new International
Web Site which gives quick and easy access to a wide variety
of information on the ICA and on the history and present
activities of co-operatives world-wide, including
bibliographies of famous co-operators throughout the ages,
information about the movements in various countries, issues
of importance to co-operators, co-operative publications,
newsletters, books, etc. with hypertext links to other
co-operative sites, international organisations and business
information of relevance to co-operatives.

The English part of the site alone holds close to 100 ICA web
pages with links to over 300 other web sites and to over 50
subject folders on the ICA/UWCC Co-operative Gopher.

French and Spanish pages have been set up and the German pages
will be operational by the end of October 1996.

Member Service & Meeting Participation
During the reporting period the department continued to
provide publications, promotional literature, press packs,
articles and photos to member organisations, students of
co-operation, co-operative researchers, international
organisations, the media and interested public. This included
a considerable number of requests for information via fax,
telephone, ordinary mail, and E-mail, including requests from
visitors to the ICA Web Site. Topics range from simple
enquiries about the ICA, its forthcoming meetings and other
activities, queries about our membership or on how to become a
member and requests for historic and other facts on the ICA or
the co-operative movement to more in-depth studies on precise

Making information available in electronic format has
facilitated this task considerably, although, as expected, it
has also generated a great deal of additional interest in the
subject of co-operation as well as in the organisation itself.

The ICA Library and Archives have continued to attract
interest among researchers in the social sciences. During the
past year the Documentalist has continued to give assistance
to visitors to the ICA including in-depth research for two of
our most recent volumes: The ICA in War and Peace and The
Thematic Guide to ICA Congresses. She has also given extensive
assistance to students preparing two doctoral thesis on ICA
history and organisational aspects which are being prepared at
the University de Deusto in Spain, and three major research
projects on statistics, co-op biography, historical figures in
co-operation are currently in process. Students doing
undergraduate studies or researchers looking for particular
references are frequent visitors to the library.

The department continues to provide support and services to
ICA's Specialised Bodies including stationery, visiting cards
etc. to ICA Officials and information sheets in English,
French,German and Spanish. Simple Web Pages have also been
created for each of the Specialised Bodies in English, French,
German and Spanish. The department continues to publicise the
various activities of the committees and our member
organisations through the ICA News, Review, Press Packs, and
through the ICA Web Site and the ICA/UWCC Co-operative Gopher.

Data Banks 
Since the beginning of 1995 the collection of statistics has
been decentralised to ICAROAP where a full-time staff member
was hired to prepare statistical reports. From 1995 to June
1996, K.L. Nalwaya was in charge of statistics and since July
1996, Ram Prakash, Technical Officer, is in charge of
processing data. All statistical information incoming to
Headquarters is copied to New Delhi. Preliminary results of a
membership survey will be available in Spring 1997. 

The collection of statistics is an on-going activity of all
ICA Regional Offices. 

In May 1996, ICAROECSA published statistical tables for
country members, namely: Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius,
Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well for South Africa.

In August 1996, ICA ROWA released a report on the West African
Regional Co-operative Data Bank comprising statistics for
Burkina Faso, Cape-Verde, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal.

ICA Europe will start a survey of membership beginning in
1997. This will be an important contribution to the
statistical programme since European region is the largest and
most diversified in terms of member organisations.

The Communication Department has contacted ICA member
organisation OCA which is running an excellent statistical
project on co-operatives in Latin America in order to exchange
data and invite this organisation to include this data on the
Co-operative Gopher.

Future Direction
The ICA has commissioned a book on the international
co-operative movement to be written by Johnston Birchall,
lecturer in Social Policy at Brunel University (UK), which
will be published by Manchester University Press. Mr. Birchall
is the author of "The People's Business", a volume on the
history of the British Co-operative Movement, which was
presented as a gift to all delegates to the ICA Centennial

The Communications Department will continue its collaboration
with the ICA Research Committee in order to more widely
publish the work of co-op researchers and  to optimise

The Communications Department would also like to publish a
series of reports on Co-operatives in the  Middle East
countries as there is a need for more information from this
region if funding can be found.

New promotional material in all of the ICA languages and a new
promotional video will be produced in the near future.

Reaching a Wider Audience
More Languages
In 1997 the present programme will be extended to publish
three versions of the ICA News - in English, French and

Exploiting the Power of the Internet
The Internet allows direct and immediate communication with
the public, unfiltered by and bypassing the news media. The
Internet, especially the World Wide Web, will multiply the
effectiveness of communications work, making publications,
case studies, promotional materials available to journalists
and the public world-wide simultaneously. The Web could
greatly multiply the effectiveness of advocacy work, enabling
the ICA to draw support and move large numbers of people to

A top priority for the ICA, therefore, is to further develop
the ICA International Co-operative Web Site, taking full
advantage of the Web's ability to display video, photos,
graphics and audio, but also ensuring that people with slower
computers can easily access large amounts of text which will
be made available on the site through the ICA/UWCC
Co-operative Gopher. The ICA will also continue its successful
collaboration with the University of Wisconsin in developing
the Co-operative Gopher site.

The University of Saskatchewan, Centre for the Study of
Co-operatives and the ICA Communications Department are
planning a new project collaborating on developing the
multi-media potential of the Internet.

Informal on-line discussions have also been held with the
University of Quebec, the University of Moncton and
Saskatchewan University Centre for the Study of Co-operatives
on developing the on-line information in French. The Canadian
centre for Development of Information Highways in French has
expressed and interest to set up a French Web Site on ICA
statistics - archival and current data and external financing
may be secured for this new project scheduled to begin in

Sponsored Television
Television is now the main source of information world-wide.

Over the next four years the ICA will develop strategies for
taking advantage of this important communication media. During
1996 the Communications department has been investigating
possibilities and negotiating with various organisations. One
of the new  projects which the ICA Communications Department
will be working on in the next four years will be a targeted
International Television Strategy in co-operation with World
Television, a specialist independent new agency providing news
and current affairs programming to broadcasters around the
world and communications support to international

Communications Policy
Since 1987, two communications policies have been drawn up by
Head Office basically dealing with Communications from this
office to the regions, to member organisations, specialised
bodies, and other target audiences. However the new
decentralised structure of ICA, the growing independence and
separation of some of the ICA's sectoral organisations and the
setting up of regional structures are all factors which have
dramatically changed the ICA environment and created
additional challenges for effective communication.

The drafting and adoption of a Corporate Communications Policy
for the whole organisation is therefore one of the main
priorities for the next four years. This policy must clearly
spell out parallel information channels and responsibilities
required for effective two-way communication between the ICA
Secretariat and its member organisations, specialised bodies,
UN representatives and other partners and between the
different ICA offices which make up the Secretariat.