Cooperation in the Changing Environment (1996)


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

                          December, 1996

(Source: Asia-Pacific Co-op News, Vol.3, No.1, Sept-Dec.,1996, p.3-4 & 7)

Co-operation in the Changing Environment


ICA ROAP organized a Regional Consultation on Co-operation in the Changing 
Environment in the Asia Pacific region as a prelude to the forthcoming 
Co-operative Ministers Conference in March 1997. The consultation was hosted 
by the ministers of Co-operatives in Myanmar at Yangon from 03 to 06 December 1996.

Thirty nine delegates at the level of secretaries to the ministers and 
CEOs of national federation from 17 countries had joined the consultations. 
In addition 21 observers from Canada and Myanmar participated. Hon. Minister 
for Co-operatives, Myanmar inaugurated the Consultation.

The major recommendations of the consultation to be presented before the 
Co-operative Ministers Conference are :

1.	For ICA and Member Co-operatives:

1.1     	To identify other government entities in member countries which play 
key roles in co-operative development and consider their representation in future dialogues.

1.2     	To advocate among major multi-lateral agencies (e.g., ADB, the World Bank) 
the adoption of  Policy on Co-operatives  which should have a shared vision on 
accepted principles.

1.3     	To ensure consistency in implementing the Statement of the Co-operative 
Identity as adopted by the ICA Centennial Congress in Manchester in 1995 given the 
following considerations:

1.3.1  	the political and bureaucratic realities of the Region.

1.3.2  	the pressures of competition due to trade globalization.

1.3.3  	diversity of needs and impact of technology in operations.

1.3.4  	rapid growth which could result in erosion of co-operative values 
and our privatization.

1.4     	To promote sustainability of co-operatives, a smooth collaboration 
between government and co-operatives must be ensured along the following areas:

1.4.1  service to members;

1.4.2 	member education and information;

1.4.3 	professional and efficient management;

1.4.4 	cost and quality consciousness;

1.4.5 	incorporation of reformulated co-operative principles in Co-operative Laws;

1.4.6 	support to co-operatives to enable them to adjust to global and open 
market economies.

1.5     	To provide or advocate technical assistance (e.g., from co-operatives 
in developed economies) to the Regional country members  apex organizations and 
co-operative training centres to enable them to cope with the diverse and 
specialized training needs of rapidly expanding co-operatives.

1.6     	To continuously advocate for appropriate legislation and policies that 
will enable co-operatives to develop themselves as autonomous and democratic 
people-based associations, while preserving their true identity. The co-operative 
movement must seek methods of advocacy that are persuasive, appropriate, and done 
in the spirit of co-operation.

1.7     	To avail of government support and assistance in a manner that will 
consistently maintain the co-operatives  attributes as self-help and self-reliant 
economic units.

1.8     	To solidify its structural and financial base while maintaining
the flexibility to mobilize the full potential and active participation of members, 
not just as passive shareholders but as concerned "stockholders".

1.9     	To set up and/or strengthen their own financial institution 
(e.g. banking, insurance), which could be wholly owned and self-initiated, or 
developed in collaboration with other institutions, preferably co-operatives, 
nationally or internationally, by way of tactical or strategic alliances as 
the situation permits.

1.10  	To revitalise the ICA Banking and Financial Co-ops Committee in the 
Asia-Pacific region and for the said Committee to study the feasibility of a 
Regional Co-operative Development Bank and draw the support of existing 
international financial institutions for co-operative development.

1.11     To consider education and training as a vital and strategic factor to 
ensure sustainable co-operative development. A network of co-operative institutes 
and other centres of excellence must be created. 

The movement must take advantage of the vast educational experiences and systems 
already developed in selected member countries.

1.12	To set up a sustainable co-operative development fund utilizing a "co-operative
taxation scheme similar to the Singaporean model or any other viable schemes.

1.13 	To commission a study on Co-operative Taxation schemes and recommend an appropriate
tax treatment for co-operatives.

1.14 	To identify potential exchanges and strategic alliances on trade and investment, 
technology transfer, joint projects and to commission a study on expanding trade 
among member organizations.

1.15 	To develop and support an appropriate role for government by collating the 
country Development Plans incorporating the role of co-operatives from the 
government of each member country. ICA, together with the member organizations will 
analyse the same for the purpose of making it consistent with the Co-operative 
Identity Statement and assisting the National Governments in ensuring the 
implementation of the Plans.

1.16 	To strengthen collaborative efforts of the ICA with the United Nations, 
bilateral and multi-lateral funding agencies.

1.17 	To enhance relations with government, private sector and selected 
social development organizations.

1.18 	For the ICA and the Asia-Pacific countries to discuss ways of maximizing the 
participation of Asia-Pacific National Co-operative Movement in ICA ROAP affairs 
and activities.

2. 	For Government Authorities:
2.1     	For Co-operative Authorities, to advocate for ensuring a common 
understanding of the co-operative Identity Statement among government agencies 
which play many roles in co-operative development.

2.2     	To formulate laws and policies consistent with the co-operative 
Identity Statement.

2.3     	To advocate for macro and sectorial policies and programs deemed vital 
to the development and competitiveness of co-operatives.

2.4     	As agricultural Co-operatives play an important role in national 
development, the ICA urges National Governments to:

2.4.1  	support agricultural co-operatives as they play an active role in 

2.4.2  	give priority to farmer co-operatives in the agri-business 
industry by providing: 	concessionary loans based upon business feasibility;  infrastructure, research and development and other pre-conditions 
of agri-business in the public domain;  concessions on imports of technology relating to agri-business;  education and training relating to business operations;  regulatory conditions to ensure a free and fair market;  fair price policies; and  otherwise, make it possible for co-operatives to adjust to global 
and open market economies.

2.4.3    ensure that co-operatives or small and medium industries are not 
disadvantaged by industry and trade regulations;

2.4.4    review and rectify discrepancies caused by multi level taxation;

2.4.5    extend to co-operatives incentives and concessions granted to private 
and public sectors; and

2.4.6    recognize co-operatives as partners in regional accords and agreements 
regarding agri-business;

2.5  	To review the progress of implementation of the recommendation adopted in the 
last 3 Co-operative Ministers Conferences.

2.6  	Gender and Development:

2.6.1  	For National Governments and Co-operatives to eliminate all legislation, 
policies and criteria which hinder the full participation and leadership of women and 
men in co-operatives.

2.6.2  	For government and co-operatives to provide training opportunities to 
ensure that gender issues in co-operatives are properly understood by governments 
and co-operative officials.

2.6.3  	For government and ICA members to set up gender desegregated data base 
to carry out proper gender analysis.

2.6.4  	It is recommended that the Co-operative Ministers/ departments and 
co-operative organizations allocate funds for gender and women's activities, such as 
data collection, gender sensitivity training, women leadership training, 
women s entrepreneurship development programmes, etc., where such funds do not yet exist.

2.7	Sustainable Development:

2.7.1   	To enjoin co-operatives and government agencies to establish strategic 
alliances for the purpose of pursuing: 	sharing of research information and resources;  	working towards creating public awareness on ecosystem management and 
sustainable livelihood;  provision of incentives for labour contribution to sustainable development; 
and  introduction of environmental accounting and other measures for development
 projects including entrepreneurial activities.

2.7.2   	To enjoin government to pursue poverty alleviation programmes 
following the  principle of sustainable development .**

2.7.3   	To encourage co-operatives and governments to pursue green 
consumerism and fair trading practices.


** 	Sustainable development is defined as development that  meets the needs of 
the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.