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Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives

COPAC is a committee made up of the cooperative movement and the United Nations and its agencies. Members work together on equal terms to promote and coordinate sustainable cooperative development by promoting and raising awareness on cooperatives, holding policy dialogues and advocating policies that enable cooperative success, working together on technical cooperation activities and sharing knowledge and information.

COPAC is the Coordinating Committee which is responsible for planning and implementing the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives 2012.


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19th United Nations International Day of Cooperatives 2013 (6 July 2013)

The theme of the 19th United Nations International Day of Cooperatives 2013 is:

  • "Cooperative enterprise remains strong in time of crisis"
  • "La coopérative, une entreprise qui reste forte en temps de crise"
  • "La empresa cooperativa se mantiene fuerte en tiempos de crisis"
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New ILO Publication: Resilience in a downturn: The power of financial cooperatives

The ILO Cooperative Branch has just released a report showing that financial cooperatives have fared better than the investor-owned banks in times of crisis. Savings and credit cooperatives, cooperative banks and credit unions have grown, kept credit flowing especially to small and medium sized enterprises, and remained stable across regions of the world while (indirectly) creating employment. Resilience in a downturn: The power of financial cooperatives examines financial cooperatives from their origins in the 1850s to the global movement they represent today. It reviews the performance of financial cooperatives, looking in particular at the aftermath of the 2007-2008 crisis and the continuing long austerity period. It explains why they have proven to be more resilient pointing to the specificities of the cooperative model of enterprise, and concludes with a review of practical policy options and recommendations for the way governments and development agencies should approach financial cooperatives – not as ‘conduits’ but as partners in the wider aims of business development, insurance against episodic poverty, and decent work. The report was prepared as a contribution to the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives 2012.

Download the publication in pdf here.

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COPAC welcomes the World Farmers' Organisation as a new member

At its 72nd Board meeting (21-22 January 2013 - Rome, Italy), the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) welcomed the membership of the World Farmers' Organisation (WFO).

The mission of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) is to bring together national agricultural producer organisations and agricultural producer cooperative organisations to create policies and advocate on world farmers’ behalf, in order to improve the economic situation and livelihood of producers, their families and rural communities.

For more information on WFO, check out the website:


Closing of the International Year of Cooperatives 2012

The official closing the United Nations (UN) International Year of Cooperatives "Promoting Cooperatives Beyond 2012" took place at the UN Headquarters in New York on 19-20 November 2012.

Videos of the IYC closing events are available online and you will find out more about featured events, Statements and Messages, Presentations, IYC outcomes from National Committees and Press Release on:

The Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) also released a COPAC Statement for the IYC closing ceremony (pdf), as well Brief on the Contributions of COPAC members to the IYC (pdf).

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Committee on World Food Security: Joint COPAC-FAO Side Event

On the occasion of the 39th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and in the context of the International Year of Cooperatives, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and COPAC jointly organized a side event on Enabling Agriculural Cooperatives: A paradigm shift for economy and social inclusion.

For more information on this event, check out the Agenda (pdf), Background Note (pdf) and the Webcast of the event.

The final Report of the Side Event is now available here (pdf)

The theme of 2012 World Food Day (16 October) was Agricultural cooperatives - key to feeding the world. The Summary of 2012 World Food Day obervances and related activities is now available here (pdf)

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Rio+20 outcome document: Cooperatives are key for sustainable development

The outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - June 2012), entitled "The Future We Want", acknowledges the role of cooperatives in contributing to social inclusion, poverty reduction, agricultural development and job creation.

Learn more about references to cooperatives in the UN Cooperatives News article on Rio+20 outcome document has affirmed that Cooperatives are key for sustainable development.

MyCoop Logo My.COOP: Managing your agricultural cooperative The International Labour Office (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other partners have launched My.COOP: a training package and programme on the management of agricultural cooperatives. My.COOP aims at improving the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of cooperative services to members. The programme includes components to enable the training of trainers, as well as the training of managers, of agricultural cooperatives.

My.COOP Managing your Agricultural Cooperative training package is now included on the knowledge base on the e-Agriculture site. E-Agriculture features information and resources on the use of ICT for sustainable agriculture and was set up as a partnership with institutions like the World Bank, UNDESA, FAO, IFAD, CGIAR, GFAR and others.
ILO Logo ILO launches Resource Guide on CooperativesThe International Labour Office (ILO) has made available an on-line information resource guide on cooperatives which enables access to a wide range of information resources on cooperatives. The Resource Guide includes ILO publications and documents as well as a wide range of books, articles and reports on cooperatives published by others. It also contains links to cooperative legislation, statistical information, training manuals as well as media related information. The Resource Guide is made available in English, French and Spanish.

Documents of Interest

Resilience of the cooperative business model in times of crisis: ILO report A 2009 ILO report that was commissioned to the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) shows that cooperative enterprises around the world are proving resilient to the global economic crisis. Financial cooperatives remain financially sound; consumer cooperatives are reporting increased turnover; worker cooperatives are seeing growth as people choose the cooperative form of enterprise to respond to new economic realities.

The report provides historical evidence and current empirical evidence that proves that the cooperative model of enterprise survives crisis, but more importantly that it is a sustainable form of enterprise able to withstand crisis, maintaining the livelihoods of the communities in which they operate. Read the full report. Read the full report > > >
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