Message from the President

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

                    Message from the President

An organisation like the ICA has to change. Either we do it in
good time or the change will be forced upon us by events
beyond our control.

Looking back on the last two years we can see the results of
the voluntary changes made at the General Assembly in Tokyo. A
new strong emphasis has been put on the four regions - Africa,
the Americas, Asia/Pacific and Europe. Under the umbrella of
their regional assemblies, subgroups of our specialised
organisations have started to grow. This was what  we hoped

It is also a correct observation that co-operatives have been
hurt by the instability of economies, the global as well as
national. Furthermore they face the problem of growing
transnational markets and the competition of multinationals.
This can be observed anywhere but most obviously in Africa,
where our potential is extremely strong, but where the healthy
co-operative influence on the market has been repeatedly
hindered or even stopped altogether by the evils of poverty.

A problem we have to live with is the unequal strength of our
members. More than half of them are small, weak and often
newly  formed. This situation is reflected in their dues
payments to ICA as well as in the lists of members who are
accepted or deleted.

In the latter category, however, even some previously very
strong members can be observed.

The changes made in the ICA structure, as well as the work on
our values and principles over the past several years, are
part of a vision. Their aim is to make the Co-operative
alternative increasingly effective and attractive when the
world of tomorrow is being formed by its citizens.

Whether our formula will bring the intended results depends
entirely on we co-operators ourselves and how we can take
advantage of the ICA as our own network. I feel optimistic.
ICA  is once more close to its members - closer than it has
been for the last half century and our membership is certainly
stronger than ever before.

Let us do some good work together in Manchester.

Lars Marcus