The Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) is a multi-stakeholder partnership of global public and private institutions that champions and supports people-centred and self-sustaining cooperative enterprises as leaders in sustainable development.


COPAC’s vision is for the cooperative voice to be heard in all global policy discussions and for every cooperative enterprise to have the resources necessary to realise its development potential.


The members of COPAC are global public and private institutions that are committed to the partnership’s mission and vision. Learn more about our current members here.

Our work

To advance their shared mission and vision, the members of COPAC collaborate on the following activity areas:

  • Promoting and raising awareness about cooperatives
  • Strengthening cooperatives around the world through capacity building
  • Participating in policy initiatives that affect cooperatives
  • Serving as a resource for cooperative knowledge through information gathering and sharing

Learn more about the work of COPAC here.


COPAC has its origins in the 23rd Session of the General Assembly of 1968, when the United Nations requested that the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) consider the role of cooperatives in economic and social development. Accordingly, at its XLVIII session, ECOSOC asked the UN Secretary-General to collaborate closely with the Directors of the ILO, FAO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the ICA, and appropriate non-governmental organisations to prepare a programme of concerted action in the field of cooperatives that would contribute significantly to realising the full potentialities of the cooperative movement in economic and social development.

A series of meetings held from 1968 to 1971 strengthened collaboration between the FAO, ICA, ILO, the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), and the International Federation of Plantation, Agricultural and Allied Workers (IFPAAW), and led to the establishment of the Joint Committee for the Promotion of Agricultural Cooperatives in March 1971. In 1973, members agreed to expand the role of the committee to promoting assistance to cooperatives in general and communicated this change of focus in a new name: the Joint Committee for the Promotion of Aid to Cooperatives.

In 1989, members decided that the name should reflect a committee for international inter-agency collaboration on activities related to cooperatives and renamed the organisation to the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives.