You are here

International Co-operative Alliance Asia-Pacific [ICA- AP]

The International Co-operative Alliance [ICA] came to Asia Pacific Region with the establishment of the Regional Office & Education Center for South-East Asia in 1960 as a result of the discussions that had taken place at the various Congresses of the Alliance since 1948. At these discussions, ways and means were explored to bring the national Co-operative Movements in the developing countries closer to the Alliance and also to seize the global challenge of contributing through the instrument of Cooperation, to the social and economic development of the developing countries.

The 19th Congress of the ICA held in Paris in September 1954 passed a resolution emphasizing ‘the obligation which rests upon every member of the Alliance, and especially on those which are firmly established in their own countries, to supply every kind of aid and encouragement to co-operative pioneers and newly-formed organisations in the under-developed countries’ and directing the authorities of the Alliance to draw up a programme of action by the ICA and its members for the promotion of Co-operation in all its forms in the under-developed regions of the world and to consider ways and means to providing the finance necessary for the execution of this programme.

At the instance of the ICA, Dr G. Keler of Sweden undertook an exploratory tour of Asia to assess the needs for establishment of an ICA Asian Regional Office. He visited Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka [then Ceylon], Singapore, Malaya, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea and held discussions with important co-operative organizations, governments, co-operative leaders and UN Agencies. Dr Keler had proposed to hold an International Consultation Conference to discuss his findings.

After the exploratory tour by Dr G. Keler, a Conference was convened at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 1958 for the purpose of consulting the co-operative organisations and the governments of the Region. Guided by the views expressed there and of its own further studies, the Alliance decided to establish its Regional Office in New Delhi. At about the same time, the Co-operative Movement of Sweden was examining the possibilities of doing co-operative educational work in India. Finally the Swedish Movement and the ICA agreed upon establishing a Regional Office and an Education Centre for South-East Asia. The term South-East Asia was used even though the institution covered both South and East Asia, in addition to South-East Asia.

At the 21st ICA Congress held at Lausanne, Switzerland, in October 1960, a Long - Term Technical Assistance Programme was drawn up which defined the role of the Alliance in the field of technical assistance to the low-income countries of the world. The plan for the establishment of a Regional Office for South-East Asia and an Education Centre at New Delhi, which had already been approved by the ICA Executive, was reported to the ICA Congress held at Lausanne.

The ICA Regional Office & Education Centre [ICA ROEC] was opened on November 14, 1960 by late Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India. Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the foremost leaders, along with Gandhi, of the Freedom Struggle in India. He also played a leading role in the emergence of independence of several colonized countries of Asia and Africa. He was also instrumental in forging a Nonaligned Countries Movement. His strong support of the Co-operative Movement and his appreciation of the ICA’s efforts to spread it were expressed in his memorable inaugural address delivered extempore at the Regional Seminar on ‘Co-operative Leadership in South-East Asia’ held at New Delhi.

First Regional Office of ICA

ICA ROEC was the first to be set up by the ICA. It was the precursor and a model for other regional offices to be set up in Africa and Latin America and Europe.

At the beginning, the Regional Office and the Education Centre functioned as separate institutions under a Regional Officer and Director respectively. Although separate institutions they worked in close collaboration with each other. To ensure further coordination, the Regional Office and Education Centre were merged in the autumn of 1963 into one institution called the ICA Regional Office & Education Centre. The Regional Officer was placed in charge of the amalgamated institution. The designation of the head of the institution was changed to Regional Director in 1970.

In view of the commendable work done by the Office and in consideration of the demands made by co-operators from the Region at various fora and taking into account the discussions held at subsequent ICA Congresses the scope and area of operations of the institution were expanded gradually to cover all the countries in Asia and the Pacific region – developed and developing. During 1960-1963 it was called ICA Regional Office for South-East Asia, from 1963 to 1990 it was called ICA Regional Office for Asia and since 1990 it is known as International Cooperative Alliance Asia Pacific [ICA-AP]. The ICA-Asia Pacific is presently located in New Delhi.

Regional Authorities

According to the statute of ICA, an organisational and governing structure has been developed. It consists of the regional authorities which at present include the Regional Assembly, Regional Board, Regional Director and several sectoral and thematic committees.

Regional Assembly

In order to promote collaboration among ICA Member-Organisations at the regional level, and to provide a forum for discussion of regional issues, Regional Assemblies are part of ICA’s governing structure. The restructuring of the ICA was approved in Tokyo Congress in October 1992. Prior to that, the highest policy body in the region was the Regional Council which consisted of two delegates from each country. As a result, the Regional Council has been replaced by a Regional Assembly in which all the members in the Region are entitled to participate. The constitution of the new Regional Assembly was adopted in the meeting held in Beijing in April 1993.

The Regional Assembly is highest policy body in the region to promote collaboration among the ICA member-organisation at the regional level and provide a forum for discussion of regional as well as global issues. It is to guide Regional Office on its programmes of activities and has to make recommendations and to submit proposals and resolutions for consideration by the General Assembly.

Powers of Regional Assembly

The Regional Assembly, as a rule take place at least every second year, alternating with the ICA General Assembly.

It works within the framework of the ICA Strategic Plan and implements priorities decided by the Regional Authorities. It also: Implements the decisions of the ICA General Assembly in the region; Submits reports, proposals and resolutions for the consideration of the General Assembly; Elects a person as President of the Region who also serves as ICA Vice- President, subject to ratification by the General Assembly; Elects a Regional Board according to its rules; Draws up its own statute, subject to approval by the General Assembly.

ICA Regional Structure

In line with the organizational structure of ICA globally, all Regional Offices of

ICA, have adopted administrative structures.

Management of ICA Regional Office

The day-to-day operations and activities are conducted by the Regional Director with the help of professional and support staff. Regional Director: The Regional Director is the chief executive officer of the Region, accountable to the elected bodies of the Region and responsible for the leadership and efficient management of the regional organisation. Regional Director is responsible for:

International Co-operative Alliance Asia and Pacific

- Promotion and defence of co-operative values and principles at the regional level;

- In the framework of the ICA Global Strategic Plan, submitting annual work programmes and budgets to be integrated in the overall global work plan and budget of the ICA;

- Implementation of the regional Strategic Plan and work programme within the Region;

- Representation on request of Member-Organisations’ policy concerns to governmental bodies and the public;

- Organisation of the Regional Assemblies and support to elected regional bodies;

- Generating resources for carrying out promotional and technical activities of the Regional Office by way of negotiations and consultations with stronger Co-operative Movements and donor agencies;

- Carrying out any other activities as may be requested by the ICA Director-General or Regional Authorities.

The present ICA Regional Director of Asia-Pacific is Mr.Balasubramanian ('Balu') Iyer. The previous Regional Directors were: U Nyi Nyi [Myanmar] 1960-1961, Dr SK Saxena [India] 1961-1968, Mr PE Weeraman [Sri Lanka] 1968-1977, Mr RB Rajaguru [Sri Lanka] 1977-1986, Mr GK Sharma [India] 1986-1996, Dr Roby Tulus [Indonesia] 1996-2001, and Mr Shil Kwan Lee [Republic of Korea] 2002-2009, Dr.Chan-Ho Choi[Republic of korea] 2010-2014.

Functions of Regional Office

The ICA-AP presently has the following main functions:

[1] Capacity Building and Human Resource Development Programmes

[2] Facilitating Enabling Environment for Sustainable Growth of Co-operatives

• Co-operative-Government Collaboration

• Conducive Legal and Policy environment

• Technical Assistance

• Co-operative Trade

• Consultancies, Field Studies, Research and Development

[3] Creating Co-operative Awareness

• Regional Assembly

• Specialised Committees

• Co-operative Forum

• Technical Meetings and Seminars

• Information Dissemination

[4] Gender, Youth and Health Programmes

Work Programmes

ICA Asia-Pacific’s current Work Programme aims towards:

• Protecting the Co-operative Identity and Image;

• Creating enabling policies and legislation in member-countries for cooperatives;

• Developing leadership and value-based professional management;

• Promoting international co-operative trade network;

• Utilizing information, communication and technology for development;

• Mainstreaming gender, youth and marginalized groups in co-operatives.

Classification of Activities

Keeping in view the demands from Member- Organisations, the views expressed at various regional and international fora, dialogues with co-operative and government leaders, and the resources at its

command, the Regional Office had, in accordance with the strategic objectives of the Alliance, adopted the following classification of its activities:

[i] Membership: Making membership of ICA more meaningful and rewarding

[ii] Influence: Sharing of best practices and strengths of co-operatives with governments for developing Co-operative Movements

[iii] Development: Creating level-playing field for co-operatives and building networks

[iv] Governance: Setting good example for co-operatives in the Region.

Member Relations

Frequent and cordial contacts are made with the Member- Organisations in the Region. In order to meet the aspirations and needs of new members, especially in Gulf and CIS countries, possibilities are explored and several development programmes launched.

Singapore Business Office [SBO] relocates to Malaysia Buisness Office [MBO]

The Singapore Business Office [SBO] was established by the International Co-operative Alliance on July 10, 1999. The SBO operated from the premises of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation [SNCF]. The SNCF and the Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union [JCCU] had providedfinancial assistance to the SBO in the initial stages.

Now, the Regional Board and the Regional Assembly in their meeting at Kobe, Japan have decided  to relocate the  Business Office  to Malaysia as it was the proposed location, considering the various factors of demands, geographical proxies, cost of operations and international character of Malaysia. Malaysian National Cooperative Movement (ANGKASA) has expressed their willingness to host the business office.

The new ‘Strategic Plan for the ICA-AP Business Office in Malaysia’ is as follows;

Strategic Plan for the ICA-AP Business Office in Malaysia

Strategic Objectives

  1. The Business Office in Malaysia, as the strategic office for the business interactions and exchanges, shall have the following strategic objectives to plan and implement relevant activities;
  • To increase the business interactions and exchanges between/among Consumer Cooperatives, Cooperative Insurance & Banking, especially with the countries in the Middle east sub-regions;
  • To promote ‘Cooperative trade’ strategically by the modes of ‘Fairtrade’ and ‘B to B trade platform’ through the Internet in the Region;
  • To promote the technical exchanges and assistances in IT technology in the forms of workshop and training;
  • To transfer the technical and managerial know-how, especially in the business areas of ‘Resource Recycling’ and ‘ Renewable Energy’ businesses;
  • To promote cultural exchanges of youth cooperators in the Region.

Office Structure

  1. Under the direct control of Regional Director, the Office shall have three sections   – 1) Consumer Coop & Fairtrade, 2) Insurance & Banking, and 3) IT technology & Renewable energy. Resources which are to be covered by the three seconded staff members from said organizations, in collaboration with the staffs of New Delhi office and Committee of seconding organizations.
  1. Address of the new Business Office in Malaysia shall be;

[307, Block A, Glomac Business Center, Jalan SS6/3, Kelana Jaya, 47301, Petaling Jaya Malaysia]