Report of the Development 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.27-29)


              Claes Thorselius/Jan-Eirik Imbsen/
              Marie-Claude Baan/Vivianne Dubini

General Overview
The Development Programme is currently undergoing several
major organisational and structural changes. At Head Office
significant progress has been made in the establishment of the
Development Trust, and preparations have been made for an
official launching in October 1996. This will not affect its
overall direction and strategy, the validity and pertinence of
which have again been confirmed by ICA's membership and
independent evaluations. Adjustments are of course being made
to ensure relevance in a rapidly changing environment, and
there is presently increased emphasis on the survival and
sound economic policies of co-operatives.

A new operational system for the development programme has
also been launched. The new system has been designed to
provide a uniform and coherent framework for our development
activities covering every aspect of the programme from the
policy to the reporting level. In designing it, the various
requirements of present and potential partner organisations
were taken into account, for instance in terms of reporting,
as well as bearing in mind its functionality as an
administrative tool. 

Decentralized Structure
In the regions, the Regional Offices have been preparing
important regional meetings and finalising their Regional
Development plans. It was first of all the year of the second
Regional Assemblies after the introduction of the new ICA
structure. These fora have now become functional parts of
ICA's structure. The Asia/Pacific Assembly hosted by the
Malaysian movement was the first. An important item on the
agenda was a discussion on the draft 4-year plan for the
region. The regional chapters of some of ICA's Specialised
Organisations also met in Kuala Lumpur.

The next region was Africa. This Assembly, which was held in
Dakar, was preceded by a pan-African seminar on information,
communication, education and training in co-operatives and was
organised in collaboration with ICA's German partner, DSE.
Another highlight of the week from the point of view of the
Development Programme was the strategic planning meeting for
the West African region. This report of the planning session
with ICA members in the region will form the basis of the
4-year Regional Development Plan, 1997 - 2000. Together with
the positive report of the recent evaluation of our programme
in West Africa, this document will in turn form the basis of a
new project document that will be submitted to ICA's long-
standing partner in Norway, NORCOOP.

Preparations are now under way for the forthcoming American
Assembly in Costa Rica. A major topic on the agenda is the
Regional Development Plans for the two region. A Women's Forum
and an International Conference "Deglobalization: Global
Challenge - Local Markets" will be organized in conjunction
with the Assembly. 

Another regional meeting of considerable importance was the
5th African Co-operative Ministerial Conference for East,
Central and Southern Africa, held in May. Both governments and
movements emphasized the importance of these meetings for a
constructive dialogue, and it was resolved that these meeting
will continue.

All the Regional Offices will have finalised their new
Regional Development Plans by the end of this year. The plans
will map out strategies and provide a platform for
co-operative development into the new century. This marks the
end of a long process involving ICA members in the regions.
The participatory aspect is essential to ensure the relevance
of the plans, i.e. that they reflect the concerns, needs and
aspirations of ICA members. This presupposes the active
participation of member organizations in needs assessment and
the setting of priorities. 

A priority of the ICA is the promotion of co-operative
development in Africa. In June, ICA therefore met with
representatives of co-operative movements from anglophone
Africa and co-operative promotion organisations to discuss
"Co-operative Development and Adjustment in Anglophone
Africa". This international conference, which was organised
jointly by the DSE, ILO and ICA, provided a forum for
discussion on the effects and consequences of adjustment
policies on co-operative development, and it is hoped that it
will support a reorientation of co-operative organisations in
the changing environment. The results of the conference were
presented at the African Regional Assembly in Senegal in

Co-operative Ventures
Joint ventures with partners are being actively pursued.
Recognising that the ICA is certainly not the only actor on
the international co-operative stage, it is important to forge
"strategic alliances", or constructive working relationships,
with other organisations whose aims are similar in terms of
co-operative development. Such co-operation will ensure better
programme impact, improved cost effectiveness, and will
benefit from economics of scale.

In the area of HRD, for instance, ICA is represented in
resource groups involved in the development and implementation
of programmes that are being run by its partners. ICA's
participation in the consultative group established by the ILO
to oversee their Coopnet and Coopreform programmes, and in
SCC's resource group which is involved in the development and
launching of the organisation's new Co-operative Leadership
Development Programme, serves to facilitate the coordination
of related activities in this area.