ILO participates in an international forum on cooperative development in the Pacific Islands

The Director of the ILO Office for Pacific Islands presented the work of the ILO on cooperatives to promote decent work at an international forum on cooperative development in the Pacific region.

News | 09 July 2018
Mr Donglin Li, Director, ILO Office for Pacific Islands
From 5-7 July 2018, the International Co-operative Alliance Asia Pacific Regional Office (ICA-AP) organized a Forum on Development of Cooperatives in the Pacific Islands and an Observance of the 2018 International Day of Cooperatives in Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu.

The forum was the first of its kind to be held for the Pacific region. The forum brought together around 80 participants including ministers, government officials, and representatives of civil society organizations, international development agencies and cooperatives in the Pacific Island countries, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, India and Indonesia, among others.

The Director of the ILO Office for Pacific Islands, Mr Donglin Li, was invited as an opening keynote speaker and a panellist on a panel discussing the role of cooperatives in international development. In his speech he introduced the ILO’s work on cooperatives, including the ILO Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No. 193), and highlighted the need for overcoming the challenges to advancing youth employment in the region as a priority. He also noted that cooperatives have the potential to play an active role in this regard.

Participants at the forum
“Cooperatives with their people-centred focus, and founded on solidarity and members’ ownership, are well-placed to be vehicles for generating employment opportunities for youth and bringing them out of poverty. There is already much evidence of producer and service cooperatives of indigenous peoples, for example, have enabled their members to secure livelihoods, create decent jobs and to access markets. At the same time, cooperatives have allowed members to preserve traditional knowledge and strengthen environmental sustainability, while advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.” “We hope to join hands with ICA members in the Pacific to tap into the full potential of cooperative so as to promote more job opportunities and decent work for our young women and men.”

At the panel discussion, the ILO Office for Pacific Islands Director also presented the practical examples of the ILO’s initiatives on cooperatives and challenges and a way forward to advance role of cooperatives in international development, particularly with regards to SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth and SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production which is the theme of the 2018 International Day of Cooperatives. The ILO’s training tools on cooperative development were also presented at the forum through a video presentation prepared by the ILO COOP Unit.