Communications

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


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                       Communications
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Activities associated with the 100th anniversary of the
organisation and the United Nations' International Day of
Co-operatives has inevitably dominated the work of the
Communications Department during this centennial year. 

Collaboration with United Nations Organisations
International Co-operative Day
The International Co-operative Day Message, entitled "The ICA
Centennial and the Next 100 Years of International Co-operation"
was sent to ICA members and other key  organisations in all of
the ICA official languages, together with the UN resolution
49/155 on the Role of co-operatives in the light of new economic
and social trends.

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, a series of
background information sheets prepared by the United Nations
Department for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development
in collaboration with the ICA, a series of press articles on
co-operatives prepared by the Inter Press Service (IPS) as part
of its agreement with ICA, a selection of accompanying photos and
the standards for the ICA and the centennial logos.

A news item giving information on how ICA member organisations
celebrated the day will be included in ICA News 4/1995.

World  Summit on Social Development
In March 1995, a series of background information sheets on the
role of co-operatives in various social issues was prepared and
circulated at the Summit in collaboration with the UN Department
for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development. A four-page
insert for Terra Viva, the official organ of the Social Summit, 
was prepared in collaboration with IPS and circulated to all
delegates at the meeting.

Special Awards
In 1994, during the visit of an ICA delegation to the United
Nations Headquarters in New York, ICA was invited to participate
in the "We the Peoples: 50 Communities Award" organised in
connection with the United Nations' 50th anniversary. Awards have
been given to 50 communities which, in the eyes of the judges,
best contribute to meeting the objectives of the United Nations
in a variety of social issues. ICA submitted several in-depth
articles indicating the role which co-operatives can play in
eliminating many of the social problems plaguing today~s world
and highlighting some of the projects carried out by ICA members
which contribute to meeting UN objectives. ICA nominated or
supported the nominations of several co-op organisations and was
in turn nominated for an Award by the International Federation of
Agricultural Producers (IFAP).

ICA has recently been informed that several co-operatives were
among the Award winners and, despite the fact that preference was
given to small grass-root level communities, the ICA itself has
been awarded a certificate for its work on promoting the
Co-operative Movement, which it will receive later this year.

Publications
Regular Publications
The ICA News and Review of International Co-operation both had a
new look in this Congress year.

Issue No. 1/1995 of the Review of International Co-operation
contained a series of historical articles on the international
Co-operative Movement, in addition to reports from the Regional
Assemblies. Issue No. 2/1995 took a series of topics which are
currently preoccupying co-operative theorists, but which had been
debated in past Reviews, and published the contemporary articles
side by side with their historical counterparts. In this way we
were able to see the progression in Co-operative thought
throughout the ICA's history. Both of these issues were very well
received.

Issue No. 3 is, of course, this Congress Book, whereas Issue No.
4 will contain the follow-up to this Centennial Congress. We also
hope to continue the debate on the Social Economy and Co-ops
which was begun by Hans-Detlef Wuelker in Issue No. 2 of the
Review, and any contributions on this theme are welcome, to
arrive at the Secretariat by 15 October 1995.

The Spanish issue of the Review continues to be published by ICA
member organisation INTERCOOP EDITORIA COOPERATIVA LTD in
Argentina and we would like to thank them for ensuring that the
publication reaches a wide audience in Latin America.

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

Centennial Editions
(i) Co-operative Principles
In addition to special issues of ICA's regular publications, the
ICA News and Review of International Co-operation, several
special editions are in preparation during this Congress year. 

The  most important of these is a document entitled "Into the
21st Century: Co-operatives Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" which
is part of the work undertaken by Professor Ian MacPherson and
his group of advisors on the Revision of the Co-operative
Principle. This paper is actually the result of almost a decade
of co-operative thought, initiated by Lars Marcus in 1988  and
continued by Sven Ake Book and his advisory group.

The latter contribution culminated in the presentation of the
report  "Co-operatives in a Changing World" at the Tokyo Congress
in 1992, the result of an initial four-years' research on the
subject. This report was built on by Professor MacPherson in this
final report to the Centennial Congress. This report is being
prepared in English, French, Spanish and German in collaboration
with the following organisations:

- Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins, Canada
- Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel, France
- Bundesverband Deutscher Konsumgenossenschaften e.V. (BVK),
Germany
- Deutscher Genossenschafts-und Raiffeisenverband e.V., 
Germany
- Gesamtverband der Wohnungswirtschaft (GdW), Germany
- Verband der Konsumgenossenschaften e.G. (VdK), Germany
- Mondragon Co-operative Corporation, Spain.

The Statement of Co-operative Identity, Background Paper and ICA
Resolution will appear in a second volume containing the four
languages, once the text has been amended according to the
decisions of the ICA General Assembly in Manchester.

(ii) The ICA During War and Peace
A second important volume is a 400-plus page study "The ICA
During War and Peace, 1910-1950" by Rita Rhodes, which is based
on her doctoral thesis. Produced in hardback version, this
volume, which will be available for sale at the ICA Congress in
Manchester, investigates how the ICA survived two World Wars and
the Cold War while other  organisations split under the pressures
of war and divisions of doctrine.

(iii)  Thematic Guide to ICA Congresses
A third volume, No. 26 in the "Studies and Reports" series, "A
Thematic Guide to ICA Congresses 1895 - 1995" presents and
analyses the main themes, reports, discussions and resolutions of
the ICA Congresses from the first ICA Congress in 1895 to the
31st Congress in Manchester in 1995. It will be published
immediately following the ICA Centennial Congress and sent to ICA
delegates as part of the ICA Congress follow-up.

Work has actually begun on two further volumes to be published in
1996 with the visit to the ICA Secretariat of the two authors,
Johnston Birchall and Jack Shaffer, for several weeks each of
research and discussion with ICA Staff members.

Publication
Plans for 1996
The first of these books to be written by Johnston Birchall,
lecturer in Social Policy at Brunel University (UK),  on the
history of the international co-operative movement, will be
published by Manchester University Press in 1996 under an
agreement with ICA. It can be ordered at the ICA Congress in
Manchester.  Mr Birchall is the author of "The People's
Business", a volume on the history of the British Co-operative
Movement, which will be presented as a gift to all delegates to
the Congress.

The second volume  to be published in 1996, will be an
encyclopaedia on the Co-operative Movement compiled by Jack
Shaffer and published by an independent publisher in the USA as
part of a series on the history of Religions, Philosophies and
Movements.

Member Services and Promotion
The Communications Department was solicited for a good number of
promotional materials,  information packs, photos, messages and
articles in this Congress Year and has responded to the extra
requests for information. Unfortunately, however, the Director of
Communications had to cancel any activities involving travel not
directly related to the ICA Centennial and we apologise for any
inconvenience this may have occasioned our members. The Programme
Officer (for Europe and Communications Department) represented
the ICA at the ACME Communications Seminar in Vienna in June
1995. Several visitors  and groups of visitors were also received
at Head Office during the period under review.

The Co-operative Union (UK) has assisted ICA in arranging for the
manufacture of some new ties which will be available for sale at
the Centennial Congress. 

Electronic Networking
ICA has continued to establish the co-operative presence in the
Internet, although we have not had the available resources to
devote quite as much time to this activity due to the extra
number of publications and other written material which it has
been necessary to produce in 1995.

Although we have established that there is a genuine need for
information on co-operatives to be made available on the
Internet,  the world's largest data network, we must also ensure
that this new  information technology does not broaden the
disparity between countries from the developing world and the
industrialised nations. This is why we are establishing our
on-line presence in distinct stages.

a)   The provision of  hardware and technical assistance at the
ICA Head Office in Geneva and in the Regional Offices so that all
ICA offices can now communicate via E-mail.

b)   We began to establish our presence by inputting our
materials into existing Discussion Groups to see what interest
this promoted.  Discussion groups (or conferences) on different
subjects of interest to co-operatives will be established as the
need arises and when more ICA member organisations and
specialised bodies have access to the facilities on offer.

c)   We had decided  to set up a  Listserver  through APC
networks. (With a listserver every member on a mailing list
receives messages generated by the other members).  Rather than
starting our own list server at this stage when few ICA members
are on-line, however, we decided to encourage our contacts to
join the listserver which has been set up by the University of
Wisconsin.  This listserver now has over 100 subscribers and is
extremely active. To subscribe, send e-mail to:
listserver@relay.doit.wisc.edu  The text of the message should
read:subscribe cooperative-bus (your name).

d)   Next we set up a Gopher (an Internet text-based tool for
organising and searching information across different
geographically located sites) in collaboration with the
University of Wisconsin; the gopher is now up and running. It
will soon be moved from a temporary to a permanent site. Details
on how to access it will be circulated to all member
organisations and interested parties as soon it is established.

e)   The next stage will be the setting up World Wide Web home
pages which will make the information visually more attractive to
organisations having more sophisticated equipment and software.
Home pages are the entry point into the Web which help the user
to rapidly access the source of information s/he is seeking.  We
hope to have some basic home pages available by the time of the
Congress.

The ICA has been negotiating with international organisations in
Geneva where a server may be made available free of charge to the
international movement through ICA. A decision is pending.

The ICA has dial-up access to Internet through the University of
Geneva.

2nd Communications Seminar
The Communications Seminar organised by the ICA Communications
Department in February last year was extremely successful and
will be followed up by a second seminar which will be organised
jointly with the ICA Communications Committee in Manchester. This
theme will be  "The Media, the Message and the Next Millennium"
and  among other subjects, participants will discuss the
Communications Superhighway and how it can help spread the
co-operative message. 

In view of the Congress Theme there will be a special
presentation  on How Co-operative Principles can be used to
Promote Co-operative Business.

2nd Workshop for Journalists from the Co-operative Movement
The Communications Committee and ICA will also organise a
two-week Workshop for Journalists and Communications Managers
from the Co-operative Movement prior to the Congress. This
Workshop, which will mix participants from developing countries
with those from East and Central Europe, will cover basic
journalistic skills as well as courses in desk-top publishing and
electronic networking.

European Funding
During the year under review the Communications Department was
granted some limited co-financing for its activities from the
European Union's DGXXIII. This is a contribution towards the
printing costs of the final report on Co-operative Identity "Into
the 21st Century: Co-operatives Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" in
four languages, studies on East and Central Europe, journalist
workshop, collaboration with IPS, amongst others.

Strategy and Future Direction
Over the past year ICA's Communication Strategy has followed
three distinct phases:

In the first instance it was necessary to build up the background
information and systems required to operate efficiently as well
as to build a network of contacts.

Secondly, it was imperative to strengthen our links with members,
which were weak after the move of the Headquarters from London in
November 1982, through improving communications channels,
ameliorating our publications and, finally, by introducing new
media: a regular newsletter, more complete and readily updatable
membership directory and our annual report  are examples of
these.

In the third instance, in order to reach a wider audience, we
have started to implement an outreach programme through
collaboration with other like-minded organisations to compensate
for our lack of resources, and to establish our presence on the
Internet.

What is Working?
So far we feel from feedback received that we have achieved our
first two objectives and are making good progress with our third
objective. It must, however, be stressed that all staff members,
not just the Communications Department, work together to meet
these aims and the Communications Programme would not function
without the solidarity, expertise and effort furnished by our
colleagues within the Secretariat and those working for our 
member organisations and other co-operative organisations.

Future Direction
In this centennial year, extra efforts have been taken to work
with other organisations, including UN and other NGOs to meet
common objectives and spread the co-operative message.

In the coming year energy will be devoted to the implementation
of the ICA Project Proposal on Electronic Networking to which
several organisations have already pledged their support and to
maintaining and improving the standard of ICA publications.