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Celebrating Cooperation

 

 

In 2020, we mark 60 years of ICA in the Asia-Pacific region, working hand-in-hand with our members to grow and enhance the cooperative movement. Over the years, ICA-AP has worked across many sectors and focused on key development areas such as gender equality, youth inclusion, entrepreneurship, and capacity building.

 

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) came to the Asia-Pacific region with the establishment of the Regional Office and Education Center (ICA ROEC) in 1960, as a result of the discussions that had taken place at the various ICA Congresses since 1948. The ICA ROEC was opened on November 14, 1960, by late Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India. ICA ROEC was the first to be set up by the ICA as the precursor and a model for other regional offices. 

 

Given the commendable work done by the ICA ROEC and based on the demands made by cooperators from the region at various fora, the scope and area of operations were gradually expanded to cover all countries in Asia and the Pacific region. The office was called ICA Regional Office for South-East Asia from 1960 to 1963; the ICA Regional Office for Asia from 1963 to 1990; and since 1990 as the International Cooperative Alliance Asia Pacific (ICA-AP). The Regional Office has been situated in New Delhi (India) from the start with branch offices in Singapore (1999 to 2012) and Malaysia (2013 onwards).

 

Starting with 7 members from 6 countries, the ICA-AP today serves 109 member organizations from 32 countries. ICA-AP has worked to unite, promote, and develop the character and nature of cooperatives. It has been able to consolidate the thought-process within the movement in the region and provide platforms for discussions, exchange of experiences, and mutual collaboration. Over the past 60 years, it has helped in the development of cooperatives, assisted in the improvement of managerial and decision-making capacity of the members, and strengthened the knowledge base of members in the region.

 

ICA-AP from its early days has forged partnerships with governments, civil society organizations, and international development agencies. The Regional Office began with a national campaign and a fund “Without Boundaries” launched by Kooperativa Forbundet (KF, Swedish Cooperative Union and Wholesale Society) in 1958 to secure the support of the Swedish cooperators. The Government of India and the National Cooperative Union of India extended complete moral and financial support to host the office. The Government of Japan and its cooperative movement (JA-Zenchu, JCCU) have been sponsoring several training programs for managers and women leaders of cooperatives. The ILO, FAO, IFAD, UNDESA, and most recently the European Union have extended support to the development of cooperatives. Members from China (ACFSMC), India (NCUI, IFFCO), Korea (NACF), Malaysia (ANGKASA) and Singapore (SNCF) have supported various development initiatives and the branch offices.

 

The Asia-Pacific region is home to two-thirds of the world’s population (around 4.58 billion) living in 53 countries and territories. The COVID-19 pandemic has for the time being dented the region’s economic growth, potentially increased the number of people living in poverty, and stalled the aspirations of its young population. At the same time, it has shown the need to look beyond current models which value short-term gain over long-term viability, increase inequality, lower social capital, and create environmental imbalances. The need is for cooperatives which center collective action to build a better world; new forms of cooperatives to emerge in light of the socio-economic-environmental needs and communication tuned to show the relevance of the model to an aspiring young generation.

 

Cooperatives in the region have, in the face of adversity, be it natural or manmade, shown their relevance, proven their resilience, and demonstrated their endurance. The challenges and urgency have magnified post the pandemic and the relevance of cooperatives in the region has never been greater. The work for the ICA-AP and cooperatives in the region is cut out for the next sixty years!

 

60th Anniversary Virtual Celebrations – 13th November 2020 via Zoom

 

To celebrate ICA-AP’s work with members across six decades, recognize those who have been part of the journey, and look ahead to the coming decades, we are organizing an online event on 13th November 2020. The event to mark the 60th anniversary will feature a live discussion with cooperators from different parts of the region, many of whom worked in earnest to help build the office and the cooperative movement in Asia and the Pacific region.

 

We welcome you to join us for the online event on 13th November from 11:00 to 13:00, India Standard Time, using the below mentioned details.

 

Online Event at https://zoom.us/j/93886934542?pwd=MW52b0VXOExOWGN0aHVFNmZrSXITdz09

Meeting ID: 93886934542

Passcode: 639004