ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations
ILO-en-strap

89th Session
Geneva, June 2001


Report V (2)

Promotion of cooperatives

Fifth item on the agenda


International Labour Office  Geneva

ISBN 92-2-111959-9
ISSN 0074-6681


CONTENTS


List of recurring abbreviations
 

Austria 

BfT
LuFAS
PKLK  

Chamber of Agriculture of Tyrol
Agricultural and Forestry Employers’ Association of Salzburg
Presidents’ Conference of the Chambers of  Agriculture of Austria

Azerbaijan 

AEC
ATUC

Azerbaijan Entrepreneurs’ Confederation
Azerbaijan Trade Union Confederation 

Barbados

BWU

Barbados Workers’ Union

Belgium   

CNT

National Labour Council

Brazil

CNC
CNI
OCB

National Confederation of Commerce
National Confederation of Industry
Association of Brazilian Cooperatives

Burkina Faso

CNPB
CNTB

National Employers’ Council of Burkina  Faso
National Confederation of Workers of  Burkina Faso 

Chad

CST

Confederation of Unions of Chad

Chile

CPC

Confederation of Production and Commerce

Croatia

SSSH
URSH

Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of  Croatia
Association of Workers’ Trade Unions of  Croatia 

Denmark

FDC

Federation of Danish Cooperatives

Egypt

FEI
ETUF

Federation of Egyptian Industries
Egyptian Trade Union Federation

Estonia

EAKL

Estonian Association of Trade Unions

Finland

Palvelutyönantajat
Suomen Yrittäjät
TT
SAK
STTK
Pellervo

Employers’ Confederation of Service Industries in Finland
Federation of Finnish Enterprises
Confederation of Finnish Industry and  Employers
Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions
Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees
Confederation of Finnish Cooperatives

France

CFDT
GNC

French Democratic Confederation of Labour
National Association of Cooperative Federations 

Germany

 BDA

Confederation of German Employers’  Associations

Ghana

GEA
TUC

Ghana Employers’ Association
Trades Union Congress

Greece

PASEGES

Pan-Hellenic Confederation of Unions of  Agricultural Cooperatives

Italy

Confcooperative
Legacoop

Confederation of Italian Cooperatives
National League of Cooperatives and Mutual Associations

Japan

NIKKEIREN
JTUC-RENGO 

Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations
Japanese Trade Union Confederation

Jordan

ACI
FJCC
GFJTU

Amman Chamber of Industry
Federation of Jordanian Chambers of  Commerce
General Federation of Jordanian Trade  Unions

Lebanon

MHC
NFC

Ministry of Housing and Cooperatives
National Federation of Cooperative Societies

Malaysia

MAPA
MEF
MTUC
ANGKASA 

Malayan Agricultural Producers’ Association
Malaysian Employers Federation
Malaysian Trades Union Congress
National Co-operative Organisation of  Malaysia 

Malta

MEA
GWU
UHM
AOC

Malta Employers’ Association
General Workers’ Union
Union Haddiema Maghqudin
Apex — Organisation of Co-operatives

Mauritius

MLC

Mauritius Labour Congress

Mongolia

CMTU

Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions

Panama

CACPYMER

Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Services Cooperative

Philippines

BLE
ILS

Bureau of Local Employment
Institute for Labor Studies

Poland

OPZZ

All-Poland Trade Union Alliance

Spain

CCOO
CIG

Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Committees
Galician Inter-Union Confederation

Sri Lanka

MCD
CCE

Ministry of Co-operative Development
Ceylon Co-operative Employees’ Federation

Switzerland

UPS

Confederation of Swiss Employers

Tanzania, United Republic of

TFTU

Tanzania Federation of Free Trade Unions

Trinidad and Tobago

ECA
CCUL

Employers’ Consulting Association
Co-operative Credit Union League of  Trinidad and Tobago

Ukraine

ASMPEU
TUWAIU

Association of Small, Medium-sized and  Privatized Enterprises of Ukraine
Central Committee of the Trade Union of  Workers of the Agro-Industrial Complex of  Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

FCCI

Federation of Chambers of Commerce and  Industry


Introduction

At its 274th Session (March 1999) the Governing Body of the International Labour Office decided to place on the agenda of the 89th Session (2001) of the International Labour Conference the question of the promotion of cooperatives.

In accordance with article 39 of the Standing Orders of the Conference, which deals with the preliminary stages of the double-discussion procedure, the office drew up a preliminary report,[1] intended to serve as a basis for the first discussion of the question. The report contains an introduction to the question, an examination of the changing environment of cooperatives in developing, transition and industrialized countries and an analysis of the prerequisites for success in the promotion of cooperatives based on the law and practice in various countries. The report was accompanied by a questionnaire and was communicated to the governments of member States of the ILO, which were invited to send their replies so as to reach the Office no later than 30 June 2000.

At the time of drawing up the present report, the Office had received replies from the governments of the following 95 member States: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of  Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of  Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Some replies arrived too late to be included in their entirety in the report; however, essential elements of these late replies have been included as far as possible. All replies received by the Office may be consulted by delegates at the Conference.

The governments of the following 60 member States stated that their replies had been drawn up after consultation with employers’ and workers’ organizations, and some included in their replies the opinions expressed on certain points by these organizations, or referred to them: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of  Moldova, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, United States, Zimbabwe. Other governments sent separately the observations from employers’ and workers’ organizations without referring to them, and in some cases replies were received directly from employers’ and workers’ organizations. Owing to the nature of the subject under discussion replies were also received from a number of national cooperative organizations.

This report has been drawn up on the basis of the replies received, the substance of which, together with brief commentaries, is given in the following pages. The Proposed Conclusions appear at the end of the report.

Replies received and commentaries

This section contains the substance of the replies to the questionnaire which accompanied the preliminary report. Each question is reproduced and followed by a list indicating the governments that replied to it, grouped in accordance with the nature of the replies (affirmative, negative or other). Where there is an observation qualifying or explaining the reply, the substance of each observation is given, in alphabetical order of countries, after the abovementioned list. Where a reply deals with several questions, or refers to an earlier question, the substance of the reply is given under the first of these questions and is only referred to in the other questions. The replies are followed by brief Office commentaries referring to the corresponding point(s) of the Proposed Conclusions at the end of this report.

Some governments gave information on their national law and practice in their replies. While this is most useful for the work of the Office, this information has not been reproduced unless it is necessary to understand the reply. Affirmative or negative replies from employers’ and workers’ organizations that are not accompanied by remarks are quoted only when they are contrary to the reply from the government, or when the government has not replied to the question.

General observations

Belgium. The development of cooperatives in the context of globalization will inevitably give rise to a dilemma: how might cooperatives reach the required size and obtain the necessary means while still retaining the essential characteristics that are part of their attraction? While globalization forces us to reason in increasingly broader terms, the simultaneous development of a countervailing tendency needs to be taken into account: in efforts to combat social exclusion and promote employment, for example, the importance of local and grass-roots activities is often emphasized. This is an area which favours cooperative activity. However, to fill this social role, particularly given that by definition their primary objective is not to make a profit, cooperatives need support from the authorities. This implies finding an equitable relationship between commercial enterprises and cooperatives (and other comparable actors), and providing the latter with the means to develop their activities. It is here that a new concept of the role of the State and decentralized authorities needs to be defined. The discussion on cooperatives will therefore contribute to the current global thinking with regard to the definition of a new social contract.

National Labour Council (CNT): The CNT notes that the introduction to the report in question presents the revision of Recommendation No. 127, as proposed by the ILO, as having a twofold objective: to adapt it to the changes that have occurred since 1966 in the concept of development and the role that the cooperatives can play in this area in developing countries, and to extend the revised standard to the transition countries, i.e. the former communist countries, and to the industrialized countries, where, according to the ILO, cooperatives have a new role to play. The concept of cooperatives covers a wide range of situations, depending on the country in question — and this is clearly highlighted in the report — and cooperatives’ role in development varies according to whether they are in developing countries, transition countries or industrialized countries. The CNT believes that the discussion that will take place at the international level with regard to the possible updating of Recommendation No. 127 should not lessen the significance of this instrument for those countries in which cooperatives form an essential component of development. It also considers the objectives defined in the questionnaire important and fully supports them. However, it believes that the cooperative is not necessarily the only legal structure through which these objectives can be attained. The objectives should be given more importance than the structure through which they are achieved.

Croatia. It is most important to formulate national policies that will, in today’s competitive environment, promote cooperatives and enable them to participate in the market. Within such policies, modalities should be established by which the government would ensure equal treatment of all the actors on the market. For example, the provision of easier access to credit facilities for cooperatives, which member States’ policies should include under current international standards, may give rise to discrimination.

Finland. Especially regarding the management of local services, the cooperative model offers a good basis for the developing countries at this stage of economic development. The boundaries of limited companies in the context of tight competition will soon be reached in this sphere. The cooperative model could be developed more strongly as a form of organization of civil society. It has many advantages compared with the traditional organizations of civil society. The ILO report underlines the role of the State in cooperative activities. The State has a general responsibility for the development and updating of the functioning of social institutions. This also applies to the cooperative form of organization. Cooperative organizations cannot, however, have any special status; the regulation of their activities should, as a rule, be based on equality with other business activities. This is also the case of minimum terms of employment of persons engaged in cooperatives. The State must maintain a favourable environment which promotes the functioning of the cooperative model and extends this form of organization to the social sector as well. The advanced service and benefit systems of welfare states are constrained by the gap between the employed and the unemployed. For reasons of expediency, access to benefits and services is tied to conditions whereby the applicant’s position is defined in “either/or” terms. Groups in a weak position on the labour market, such as the long-term unemployed and the disabled, may suffer as a result. Often different combinations of subsidy and wages are needed as a temporary solution to help them find employment. Subsidized employment and social enterprises have been necessary to fill the gaps in existing benefit and service systems or to improve the position of the most vulnerable social groups. It is hoped that new enterprise models will strengthen employment in such third-sector activities where conventional business activity does not fit naturally. The question of non-profit-making activities seems to constitute the basic guideline in cooperative activities and in social business activity. Non-profit-making activities often seem naturally suited to the social and health care sector. Health and participation cannot be regarded as only for those with earned and other income. The ILO Recommendation and cooperation with other international organizations are likely to help national efforts to promote employment. The development of one’s own systems can benefit from comparative study. A terminological survey will ultimately turn out to be to the benefit of better regulation.

France. General Confederation of Labour — Force Ouvrière (CGT-FO): The social economy reconciles economic and social concerns in a shared vision, giving priority to human beings over capital, through specific organizations that include cooperatives. Cooperatives worldwide have had to face major challenges in the 1990s, and these may be expected to increase in the coming decades with the deep-rooted changes affecting people’s lives throughout the world: rapid demographic growth, mounting pressure on the environment, concentration of economic power in the hands of a minority of the world’s population, the worsening poverty cycle and ethnic conflict. While it is clearly recognized that governments must endeavour to promote the role of cooperatives while respecting their specific characteristics, their uniqueness and their aims, at the same time they should not interfere in their operations. The cooperative movement, which is an integral part of the social economy, is closely linked to the trade union movement. It is in this spirit that we can affirm that the founding values underlying the cooperative movement make it a natural partner of our trade union organization, provided that the respective roles of each are clearly established without any ambiguity. As a fully-fledged actor in economic and social development at the local, national and international levels, the cooperative movement deserves a legal and institutional framework commensurate with its potential and aspirations. Equality of treatment and free competition should lead to the implementation of impartial policies that nevertheless respect the special characteristics and values of cooperatives. There is no denying that cooperatives have a constructive role to play in economic life and civil society by promoting entrepreneurship and wealth generation. Governance — the cornerstone of the cooperative movement — is still key to their success, but requires more investment in training. Because of its composition, the ILO has its own contribution to make to the development of the cooperative movement.

National Association of Cooperative Federations (GNC): It is incorrect to conclude that French cooperatives do not belong to the private sector, based on a distinction between the “private sector” and the “social economy”. They are part of the private sector, but can still claim to be part of the social economy, which differs from capitalistic enterprises in that it is based on the commitment of individuals and practises a form of management that is democratic, transparent and participatory. The distinction between non-profit and not-for-profit organizations is an interesting one, and is based on the general understanding of the English term “not-for-profit organization”. Some additional clarification may be necessary here, since the concept “sans but lucratif” in French is used for organizations which realize no profit; this does not apply to cooperatives, which generally have to generate a surplus and pay interests on shares. It would be helpful to draw a distinction between the share capital (or capital stock — capital social in French) and shareholders’ equity (capitaux propres), since it is a characteristic of cooperatives that they create indivisible reserves allowing development and continuity from one generation to the next. Without ruling out other innovative mechanisms for raising capital, and with due regard to the principle of limiting the interest paid on shares (reaffirmed by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Congress in 1995), legislators should encourage the systematic formation of indivisible reserves as a means of promoting the development of cooperatives.

Japan. Considering that cooperatives can fulfil various roles at each stage of social and economic development and that more than 40 years have passed since Recommendation No. 127 was adopted, it is appropriate to revise the Recommendation to adapt to the changing times.

Switzerland. Confederation of Swiss Employers (UPS): The issue of the promotion of cooperatives, as the report suggests, concerns first and foremost the developing countries and those in transition. In the case of Switzerland, a legal framework already exists in this area. We therefore see no reason, as far as Switzerland is concerned, to adopt any new standards in this area.

I. Form of the international instrument
 

Qu. 1

Do you consider the International Labour Conference should adopt a new international instrument concerning the promotion of cooperatives?

Total number of replies: 95.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of  Korea, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of  Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of  Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: None.

Other: Chad, Cyprus, Kuwait.

The large majority of member States replying to this question, including workers’ and employers’ organizations, were in favour of a new international standard on the promotion of cooperatives. The reasons given pointed mainly to the need to reflect the economic, social and political changes that have taken place worldwide since the adoption of Recommendation No. 127 in 1966. In addition, a number of replies mentioned the need to adopt an instrument relevant to all countries, and not just developing countries. Point 1 of the Proposed Conclusions has been drafted accordingly.
 

Qu. 2

If so, do you consider that the instrument should take the form of a Recommendation?

Total number of replies: 95.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of  Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, United Republic of  Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Cameroon, Senegal, Syrian Arab Republic.

Other: Kuwait.

The overwhelming majority of member States were of the opinion that a new international standard should take the form of a Recommendation since the issues involved concern mainly policy. Furthermore, a significant number of replies indicated that a Recommendation would provide the required flexibility. A few replies, particularly from some workers’ organizations, suggested that a Convention might be preferable in order to enhance application and reporting. Point 2 of the Proposed Conclusions has been drafted accordingly.

 II. Preamble
 

Qu. 3

Should the instrument include a preamble referring to:

(a) Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122), and Employment Policy (Supplementary      Provisions) Recommendation, 1984 (No. 169)?
(b) Rural Workers’ Organisations Convention, 1975 (
No. 141), and Recommendation (No. 149)?
(c) Human Resources Development Convention, 1975 (
No. 142), and Recommendation (No. 150)?
(d) Job Creation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998 (
No. 189)?
(e) Other instruments? (Please specify.)

Total number of replies: 93.

Affirmative: Algeria ((a), (b), (d) and (e)), Argentina ((b), (d) and (e)), Austria, Azerbaijan ((a) to (d)), Bahamas ((a) to (d)), Belarus ((a) to (d)), Belgium ((a) to (d)), Benin ((a) to (d)), Bolivia ((a) to (d)), Brazil ((a) to (d)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso ((b)), Cambodia ((a) to (d)), Cameroon ((a) to (d)), Canada ((a) to (d)), Chad, Chile ((a), (c) and (d)), China ((a), (c) and (d)), Colombia, Costa Rica ((a) and (d)), Croatia ((b) to (d)), Cuba ((a) to (d)), Cyprus ((a) to (d)), Czech Republic ((a) to (d)), Denmark ((a) to (d)), Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia ((a), (c) and (d)), Ethiopia ((d)), Finland, France ((a), (c) and (d)), Gambia, Ghana ((a) to (d)), Guyana ((a) to (d)), Hungary ((a) to (d)), India ((a), (b) and (d)), Indonesia ((a) to (d)), Iraq ((a) to (d)), Israel ((a) to (d)), Italy ((a) to (d)), Jamaica ((a)), Japan ((a) to (d)), Jordan ((a) and (d)), Kenya, Republic of Korea ((a)), Kuwait ((a) to (c)), Lebanon ((a), (c) and (e)), Lithuania ((a) to (d)), Malaysia ((d)), Mali ((a) to (d)), Malta ((a) and (c)), Mauritius ((a) to (d)), Mexico, Republic of  Moldova ((a) to (d)), Morocco ((a) and (d)), Namibia ((a) to (d)), Nepal ((a) to (d)), Nicaragua ((a) to (d)), Norway ((a) to (d)), Oman, Panama, Philippines ((c) and (d)), Poland ((a) to (d)), Portugal, Qatar ((a), (b) and (d)), Romania ((a) to (d)), Russian Federation ((a) and (d)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a) to (d)), Saint Lucia ((c) to (e)), Senegal ((a) to (d)), Slovakia ((a) to (d)), Slovenia ((a) to (d)), Spain ((a) to (d)), Sri Lanka, Swaziland ((b) and (d)), Switzerland ((b) to (d)), Syrian Arab Republic ((a) to (d)), Tajikistan ((a) to (d)), United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand ((a) to (d)), Togo ((a) to (d)), Trinidad and Tobago ((a) to (d)), Tunisia ((a) to (d)), Turkey ((a) to (d)), Ukraine ((a) to (d)), United Arab Emirates ((a) to (d)), United Kingdom ((b) and (d)), Uruguay ((a) to (c)), Venezuela ((a) to (d)), Zimbabwe ((a), (c) and (d)).

Negative: Argentina ((a) and (c)), Azerbaijan ((e)), Bahamas ((e)), Barbados ((a) and (e)), Benin ((e)), Brazil ((e)), Cameroon ((e)), Chad ((e)), China ((b)), Costa Rica ((b), (c) and (e)), Croatia ((a) and (e)), Cuba ((e)), Czech Republic ((e)), Estonia ((b) and (e)), Germany ((a) to (d)), India ((c)), Indonesia ((e)), Iraq ((e)), Italy ((e)), Jordan ((b) and (c)), Republic of Korea ((b) to (e)), Kuwait ((d) and (e)), Lebanon ((b) and (d)), Malta ((b), (d) and (e)), Peru, Philippines ((a), (b) and (e)), Russian Federation ((b), (c) and (e)), Saint Lucia ((a) and (b)), Senegal ((e)), Slovenia ((e)), Spain ((e)), Swaziland ((a) and (c)), Syrian Arab Republic ((e)), Thailand ((e)), Ukraine ((e)), United Arab Emirates ((e)), United Kingdom ((a), (c) and (e)), United States ((a) to (e)), Uruguay ((d) and (e)), Venezuela ((e)), Zimbabwe ((b) and (e)).

Other: Algeria ((c)), Namibia ((e)), Nicaragua ((e)), Slovakia ((e)), Switzerland ((a) and (e)), Togo ((e)).

A large number of replies gave strong support to an instrument containing a preamble referring to the Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122), and Employment Policy (Supplementary Provisions) Recommendation, 1984 (No. 169), the Rural Workers’ Organisations Convention (No. 141) and Recommendation, 1975 (No. 149), the Human Resources Development Convention (No. 142) and Recommendation, 1975 (No. 150), and the Job Creation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998 (No. 189). Point 3 of the Proposed Conclusions has been drafted accordingly.

III. Objective, scope and definition
 

Qu. 4

Should the instrument seek to promote the considerable potential that cooperatives have, in all countries whatever their level of development, to assist their members to:

(a) create employment and expand access to income-generating activities?
(b) improve social well-being?
(c) increase savings and investment?
(d) attain other economic and social objectives? (Please specify.)

Total number of replies: 95.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin ((a) to (c)), Bolivia, Brazil ((a) to (c)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia ((a) to (c)), Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile ((a), (c) and (d)), China, Colombia, Costa Rica ((a) and (b)), Croatia ((a) to (c)), Cuba ((a) to (c)), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark ((a) to (c)), Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan ((a) to (c)), Jordan, Kenya, Republic of  Korea ((a) to (c)), Lebanon, Lithuania ((a) to (c)), Malaysia, Mali, Malta ((a), (b) and (d)), Mauritius, Mexico ((a) to (c)), Republic of  Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, ­Norway ((a) to (c)), Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal ((a) to (c)), Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland ((a) to (c)), Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of  Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States ((a) to (c)), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Benin ((d)), Brazil ((d)), Costa Rica ((c) and (d)), Cuba ((d)), Republic of Korea ((d)), Kuwait ((a) and (d)), Malta ((d)), Mexico ((d)).

Other: Croatia ((d)), Japan((d)), Kuwait ((b) and (c)), Norway ((d)), Portugal ((d)), Swaziland ((d)), United States ((d)).

Replies were strongly affirmative to all subparagraphs, particularly (a) to (c). In regard to (d), the majority of comments proposed additional areas where cooperatives have considerable potential. The most frequently cited areas included the provision of health care, housing, training, education and business services; development of the community; protection of the environment; promotion of democracy and equality in economic and gender terms.

The Office considers these suggestions reasonable and Point 4 of the Proposed Conclusions has been drafted accordingly.
 

Qu. 5

Do you consider that the instrument should apply to all types and forms of cooperatives and to all economic and social sectors in which cooperatives operate?

Total number of replies: 95.

Affirmative: Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, ­Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Brazil, Hungary, Iraq, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Oman, Tajikistan, United Kingdom.

Other: Algeria, Lebanon, Switzerland.

Nearly all of the replies stated that the instrument should not be limited in its scope but that it should apply to all types and forms of cooperatives and to all economic and social sectors in which cooperatives operate. Several replies referred to the fact that since cooperatives are guided by, or function according to, the same principles and values, the instrument should apply to all cooperatives.

The few replies that disagreed argued that cooperatives may not be suitable in all sectors, that national laws should determine the scope, or that certain sectors could require separate standards.

Considering that the majority of replies were affirmative, the Office has decided to include the provision for wide coverage of the instrument in Point 5 of the Proposed Conclusions.
 

Qu. 6(1)

Do you consider that the framework for a definition contained in the Co-operatives (Developing countries) Recommendation, 1966 (No. 127), is still relevant and adequate?[2] If not, what should be the definition of a cooperative?

Total number of replies: 89.

Affirmative: Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of  Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of  Moldova, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Poland, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Negative: Canada, China, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Namibia, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Zimbabwe.

Other: Algeria, Japan, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia.

Qu. 6(2)

Do you consider that a definition of cooperatives should continue to be left solely to national laws and practice or should a definition be contained in the instrument itself?

Total number of replies: 91.

Affirmative: Argentina, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, India, Kuwait, Mauritius, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Other: Algeria, Austria, Bahamas, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Finland, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Malta, Morocco, Namibia, Norway, Saint Lucia, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United States, Uruguay.

The vast majority of replies considered that the framework for a definition contained in the Cooperatives (Developing Countries) Recommendation, 1966 (No. 127), is still relevant and adequate, namely that a cooperative “... is an association of persons who have voluntarily joined together to achieve a common end through the formation of a democratically controlled organization, making equitable contributions to the capital required and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the undertaking in which the members actively participate”.

A substantial number of replies, however, preferred the ICA definition of cooperatives as contained in the Statement on the Co-operative Identity, namely that “a co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise”.

A few replies proposed other definitions which also concur more with the ICA definition.

In reply to Question 6(2), a number of comments indicated that the definition of cooperatives should be left solely to national laws and practice. However, the vast majority of comments stated that the framework for a definition should be contained in the instrument. Many comments further specified that it would be up to national laws and practice to adapt the framework to their own specific conditions.

The Office considers the framework for a definition to be of pivotal importance, as numerous member States have over the years based their cooperative legislation on the ILO definition. It has therefore decided to retain the definition contained in Recommendation No. 127, but proposes to replace the term “undertaking” by “enterprise” in the English version in order to harmonize the texts in English and French, and to bring the ILO definition closer to the one contained in the ICA Statement. Point 6 of the Proposed Conclusions has been drafted accordingly.
 

Qu. 7

Should the instrument encourage the promotion and strengthening of the identity of cooperatives based upon the following unique characteristics:[3]

(a)  voluntary and open membership;
(b)  democratic member control;
(c)  member economic participation;
(d)  autonomy and independence;
(e)  education, training and information;
(f)  cooperation among cooperatives;
(g) concern for the community?

Total number of replies: 94.

Affirmative: Algeria ((c) to (g)), Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile ((a), (b), (d) to (f)), China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia ((a) to (f)), Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait ((a), (b), (d) to (g)), Lebanon ((c), (e) to (g)), Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova ((a), (b), (d) to (f)), Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway ((a), (c) to (g)), Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar ((a) to (c), (f) and (g)), Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland ((a), (b), (d) to (g)), Syrian Arab Republic ((c), (e) to (g)), Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania ((a) to (d), (f) and (g)), Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Croatia (g), Kuwait (c), Republic of Moldova ((c) and (g)).

Other: Algeria ((a) and (b)), Chile ((c) and (g)), Lebanon ((a), (b) and (d)), Norway ((b)), Switzerland ((c)), Syrian Arab Republic ((d)).

The provision that the instrument should encourage the promotion and strengthening of the identity of cooperatives based on the unique cooperative characteristics was strongly supported by the replies. The comments generally underscored the validity and importance of these characteristics, which correspond to the universally adopted cooperative principles as expressed in the ICA’s Statement on the Co-operative Identity. Regarding subparagraph (g), some comments noted that “concern for community” could vary according to the type of cooperative and that it would depend on the policies approved by members. It was also pointed out that equal participation and fair treatment of men and women should be a cross-cutting issue in all the cooperative principles.

The Office has decided to replace the term “unique characteristics” by “cooperative principles”, and to include the modified provision as Point 7 in the Proposed Conclusions.
 

Qu. 8

Should the instrument encourage measures enabling cooperatives to respond to the needs of disadvantaged groups in society? If yes, what should such measures include?

Total number of replies: 93.

Affirmative: Algeria, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Argentina, Barbados, Cameroon, Chile, Estonia.

Other: Chad, Egypt, Japan, Lebanon, Morocco, Switzerland, United States.

The vast majority of replies were in favour of the instrument encouraging measures which would enable cooperatives to respond to the needs of disadvantaged groups in society. The measures proposed included tax exemption or relief, subsidies and other incentives and preferential treatment, as well as provisions promoting access to credit, education and training for disadvantaged groups. Comments pointed out, however, that the instrument could only suggest measures and not require them of cooperatives and that preferential treatment should be afforded disadvantaged groups whether they are organized in cooperatives or in any other form of enterprise or organization according to national practice.

The Office finds these comments appropriate and has drafted Point 8 of the Proposed Conclusions accordingly.

IV. The role of governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations and cooperative organizations and their relationship
 

Qu. 9(1)

Should the instrument provide for the following role for governments in the promotion and regulation of cooperatives:

(a)  establishment of a policy and legal framework?
(b)  establishment of an institutional framework allowing for the registration of cooperatives in a       rapid and simplified manner?
(c)  establishment of a policy and legal framework for the promotion of a vertical cooperative       structure (i.e. primary, secondary and apex bodies)?
(d)  adoption of special measures for the oversight of cooperatives?

Total number of replies: 94.

Affirmative: Algeria ((a) and (b)), Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan ((a) and (b)), Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin ((a) to (c)), Bolivia, Brazil ((a), (b) and (d)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso ((a), (b) and (d)), Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada ((a) to (c)), Chad, Chile, China, Colombia ((b) to (d)), Costa Rica ((a), (b) and (d)), Croatia ((a)), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt ((a) and (b)), El Salvador ((b) and (d)), Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland ((a) to (c)) , France, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana ((a) and (c)), Hungary ((a) and (c)), India ((a)), (b) and (d)), Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan ((a), (c) and (d)), Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea ((a) to (c)), Kuwait ((b) to (d)), Lebanon ((b) and (c)), Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta ((a) to (c)), Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway ((a) and (b)), Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines ((a), (c) and (d)), Poland, Portugal, Qatar ((a), (b) and (d)), Romania ((a) and (b)), Russian Federation ((a) to (c)), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia ((a) to (c)), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain ((a) to (c)), Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland ((a)), Syrian Arab Republic ((b) and (c)), Tajikistan ((a), (b) and (d)), United Republic of Tanzania ((a), (b) and (d)), Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia ((a) and (b)), Turkey, Ukraine ((a) to (c)), United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay ((a), (b) and (d)), Venezuela ((b) to (d)), Zimbabwe ((a) to (c)).

Negative: Algeria ((c) and (d)), Azerbaijan ((c) and (d)), Brazil ((c)), Canada ((d)), Colombia ((a)), Costa Rica ((c)), Croatia ((b) to (d)), Cuba, Egypt ((c) and (d)), El Salvador ((a) and (c)), Germany ((a) and (d)), Guyana ((b) and (d)), Hungary ((d)), India ((c)), Japan ((b)), Republic of Korea ((d)), Kuwait ((a)), Philippines ((b)), Romania ((c) and (d)), Russian Federation ((d)), Saint Lucia ((d)), Senegal, Spain ((d)), Switzerland ((b) to (d)), Syrian Arab Republic ((a) and (d)), Tajikistan ((c)), United Republic of Tanzania ((c)), Tunisia ((c) and (d)), Ukraine ((d)), Uruguay ((c)), Venezuela ((a)), Zimbabwe ((d)).

Other: Benin ((d)), Finland ((d)), Hungary ((b)), Lebanon ((a) and (d)).

Qu. 9(2)

Should the instrument provide for governments to have any other responsibilities with respect to the promotion and regulation of cooperatives? If so, please specify.

Total number of replies: 87.

Affirmative: Argentina, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gambia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Negative: Algeria, Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Guyana, Japan, Lithuania, Peru, Poland, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Zimbabwe.

Other: Bahamas, Benin, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Tunisia, United States.

The vast majority of replies confirmed that it is the proper role of government to establish a policy and legal framework within which cooperatives can function successfully. Likewise, almost all member States agreed that government must establish an institutional framework that provides for the registration of cooperatives in a more rapid and simplified manner than is the case today. A few replies suggested that thorough and professional registration was as important as speed, but the general consensus was that cumbersome bureaucratic procedures should be avoided. Regarding the establishment of a policy and legal framework for the promotion of a vertical cooperative structure, most replies stated that the government should play a role, since vertical structures involving primary, secondary and apex cooperatives could contribute to sustainability. Several replies thought that the preservation of freedom of association should be the guiding principle in the establishment of such structures and hence the role of government in this regard should be limited. While some three-quarters of the government replies confirmed that special measures should be adopted for the oversight of cooperatives in the interests of their efficient functioning and adherence to cooperative principles, a significant number of responses disagreed that such measures were necessary. Concern was expressed that special oversight might lead to inter­ference in the operations of cooperative enterprises. Some comments indicated that cooperatives, as private business enterprises, should be subject to the same oversight measures as any other business.

Some 60 per cent of the government replies were in favour of government having additional responsibilities with respect to the promotion and regulation of cooperatives, for example through education and training, informational activities, provision of financial incentives, legal privileges and other concessions, etc. However, one-third of the government replies and a majority of the replies from employers’ organizations were in the negative. A number of constituents expressed the fear that additional government responsibilities might encroach on cooperative autonomy. These points are reflected in Point 9 of the Proposed Conclusions.
 

Qu. 10

Should employers’ organizations be encouraged to:

(a)  make appropriate support services available to cooperatives?
(b)  include cooperative organizations in their regional, national and ­local groups, especially where       the latter deal with policies and programmes having an impact on cooperatives?
(c)  participate in the exchange of experience and the establishment of commercial linkages between       cooperatives and other forms of enterprises?
(d)  participate in studies on social and labour market issues of interest to cooperatives?
(e)  participate in programmes for cooperatives aimed at improving product and service quality and       access to market opportunities?
(f)  recommend that their members assist workers to establish consumer cooperatives, savings and      credit cooperatives and housing cooper­a­tives?
(g) carry out other activities? (Please specify.)

Total number of replies: 93.

Affirmative: Algeria ((b), (e) and (f)), Argentina, Austria ((b), (c) and (e)), Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium ((a) to (f)), Benin ((a) to (f)), ­Bolivia, Brazil ((d) and (e)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia ((a) to (f)), Cameroon ((a), (c) to (g)), Canada, Chad, Chile ((a) to (f)), China ((a) to (f)), Colombia, Costa Rica ((a) to (f)), Cuba ((a) to (f)), Cyprus, Czech Republic ((a) to (f)), Ecuador ((a), (c), (d) and (g)), Egypt ((a) to (c), (e) to (g)), El Salvador, Estonia ((a), (c) to (g)), Ethiopia ((a), (c) to (f)), France ((a) to (f)), Gambia, Germany ((f)), Ghana ((a) to (f)), Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq ((a), (c) to (g)), Israel, Italy ((b) to (f)), Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea ((a) to (c), (e) and (f)), Kuwait ((a), (c) to (g)), Lebanon ((c) to (g)), Lithuania ((a) to (f)), Malaysia ((a) to (f)), Mali, Malta ((a), (c) to (f)), Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco ((a) to (f)), Namibia ((b) to (f)), Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway ((a) to (f)), Oman ((a) to (f)), Panama, Peru ((a) to (f)), Philippines, Poland, Qatar ((a), (c) to (f)), Romania, Russian Federation ((a) to (f)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a), (d) and (f)), Saint Lucia ((a) to (f)), Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia ((a) to (f)), Spain ((a) to (f)), Sri Lanka ((a) to (f)), Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic ((e) to (g)), Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo ((a) to (f)), Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia ((a) to (f)), Turkey ((a) to (f)), Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom ((a), (d) to (g)), United States, Uruguay ((b) to (f)), Venezuela, Zimbabwe ((a) to (f)).

Negative: Algeria ((a) and (g)), Austria ((a), (d), (f) and (g)), Belgium ((g)), Benin ((g)), Brazil ((a) to (c), (f) and (g)), Cameroon ((b)), Cuba ((g)), Czech Republic ((g)), Ecuador ((b) and (f)), Estonia ((b)), Germany ((a) to (e), (g)), Iraq ((b)), Italy ((a) and (g)), Japan, Republic of Korea ((d) and (g)), Kuwait ((b)), Malta ((b) and (g)), Namibia ((a) and (g)), Peru ((g)), Spain ((g)), Turkey ((g)), United Kingdom ((b) and (c)), Uruguay ((a) and (g)).

Other: Costa Rica ((g)), Ecuador ((e)), Egypt ((d)), Finland, Kuwait ((g)), Lebanon ((a) and (b)), Oman ((g)), Portugal, Switzerland.

An overwhelming majority of replies, including those of employers’ organizations, supported an active role for employers’ organizations in the promotion of cooperatives. Employers’ organizations are to be encouraged to make support services such as market information, advice, training and provision of business links available to cooperatives. Some replies considered that these support services would be conducive to improving labour relations and workers’ welfare. There was also broad support for the idea that cooperative organizations should be included in regional, national and local groups of employers’ organizations, particularly regarding matters affecting them. Several replies noted that these kinds of linkage could be mutually beneficial to all concerned; this was backed by agreement that employers’ organizations should exchange experience and establish commercial linkages between cooperatives and other forms of enterprises. The promotion of business opportunities was regarded as essential for cooperative success by a number of constituents. This could also be achieved through employers’ organizations participating in programmes for cooperatives aimed at improving product and service quality and access to market opportunities, as well as participating in relevant social and labour market studies. Almost all constituents also considered that workers’ welfare could be enhanced by members of employers’ organizations assisting workers to establish consumer cooperatives, savings and credit cooperatives and housing cooperatives. Some replies indicated that this kind of activity could contribute to the promotion of job satisfaction and industrial peace. Other services mentioned in the replies included financial assistance, insurance, pensions, mutual health schemes, childcare facilities, transport, legal assistance and encouragement to set up cooperatives in the informal sector. The Office recognizes the validity of all these proposals, and with regard to the informal sector has proposed an additional formulation which is incorporated as Point 10(c) of the Proposed Conclusions: “carry out other activities for the promotion of cooperatives, including in the informal sector”.
 

Qu. 11

Should workers’ organizations be encouraged to:

(a)  advise their members to establish cooperatives with the special aim of facilitating access to basic       consumer goods, loans, housing and social services?
(b)  promote the establishment of cooperatives in the informal sector in order to improve the       competitiveness of micro-enterprises and to organize social services?
(c)  participate in committees and working groups at the national and local levels to consider       economic and social issues having an impact on cooperatives?
(d)  participate in the setting up of new cooperatives, such as workers’ cooperatives converted from       private and state enterprises?
(e)  participate in programmes for cooperatives aimed at improving productivity and equality of       opportunity?
(f)  carry out other activities? (Please specify.)

Total number of replies: 90.

Affirmative: Argentina ((a) to (e)), Austria ((a) to (d)), Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium ((b) to (e)), Benin ((a) to (e)), Bolivia, Brazil ((a) to (e)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso ((a) to (e)), Cambodia ((a) to (e)), Cameroon ((a) to (e)), Canada, Chad, Chile ((a) to (c) and (e)), China ((a) to (e)), Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba ((c) to (e)), Cyprus ((b) to (e)), Czech Republic ((a) to (e)), Ecuador ((b), (e) and (f)), Egypt ((a) to (e)), El Salvador, Estonia ((a) to (e)), Ethiopia ((a) to (e)), France, Gambia, Germany ((a) to (c)), Ghana ((a) to (e)), Guyana ((a) to (c) and (e)), Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq ((a) to (e)), Israel ((a), (c) to (f)), Italy ((a) to (e)), Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea ((a), (b) and (d)), Lebanon ((a) to (d)), Lithuania ((a) to (e)), Malaysia ((a) to (e)), Mali ((b) to (e)), Malta ((a) to (e)), Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova ((a) to (e)), Morocco ((a) and (e)), Namibia ((a) to (d) and (f)), Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway ((a) to (e)), Oman ((a) and (e)), Panama, Peru ((a) to (e)), Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation ((a) to (e)), Saint Lucia ((a) to (e)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a) to (e)), Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia ((a) to (e)), Spain ((a) to (e)), Sri Lanka ((a) to (e)), Syrian Arab Republic ((a) to (c) and (e)), Swaziland ((a) to (e)), Tajikistan ((a) to (c) and (e)), United Republic of Tanzania ((b) to (f)), Thailand, Togo ((a) to (e)), Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia ((a) to (e)), Turkey ((a) to (e)), Ukraine ((a) to (e)), United Arab Emirates ((a) to (e)), United Kingdom, United States ((a) to (e)), Uruguay ((a) to (e)), Venezuela, Zimbabwe ((a) to (e)).

Negative: Austria ((e) and (f)), Belgium ((f)), Benin ((f)), Brazil ((f)), Cameroon ((f)), Cuba ((a), (b) and (f)), Cyprus ((f)), Czech Republic ((f)), Ecuador ((a), (c) and (d)), Egypt ((f)), Estonia ((f)), Germany ((d) to (f)), Guyana ((d) and (f)), Israel ((b)), Italy ((f)), Republic of Korea ((c), (e) and (f)), Mali ((a)), Malta ((f)), Namibia ((e)), Oman ((b) and (d)), Peru ((f)), Spain ((f)), Syrian Arab Republic ((d) and (f)), Tajikistan ((d) and (f)), United Republic of Tanzania ((a)), Turkey ((f)), Ukraine ((f)), United States ((f)), Uruguay ((f)), Zimbabwe ((f)).

Other: Finland, Japan, Lebanon ((e) and (f)), Portugal, Swaziland ((f)), Switzerland.

Replies indicated a wide consensus in support of workers’ organizations advising their members to establish cooperatives to supply consumer goods, loans, housing and social services as a means of improving their living standards and quality of life. Some replies suggested that in addition, workers’ organizations should advise their members with regard to job-creating cooperatives such as industrial workers’ cooperatives. Most constituents expressed the view that workers’ organizations could play an important role in promoting the establishment of cooperatives in the informal sector to create job opportunities, improve productivity, contribute to local development, extend social protection, etc. Workers’ organizations were also expected to participate in national and local forums considering matters of interest to cooperatives. Regarding the role of workers’ organizations in setting up workers’ cooperatives converted from private and state enterprises, the vast majority of replies expressed the view that this was definitely one option that should be considered, and that could help reintegrate displaced workers. The Office has decided to slightly modify the provision contained in this subparagraph in order to emphasize the job creation and consolidation potential of workers’ cooperatives. Workers’ organizations should also participate in programmes aimed at improving productivity and equality of opportunity. Other activities suggested included promotional and educational activities, lobbying government and other agencies on behalf of cooperatives, the establishment of labour-sponsored investment funds, etc. There were, however, a significant number of government replies which stated that no other activities in addition to those stipulated in subparagraphs (a) to (e) should be considered. The above comments are reflected in Point 11 of the Proposed Conclusions.
 

Qu. 12

Should cooperative organizations, and in particular their unions and federations, be invited to:

(a)  establish an active partnership with employers’ and workers’ organizations and development       agencies for creating a favourable climate for the development of cooperatives?
(b)  finance and manage their own technical support services, including management consultancy,       human resource development and external audit?
(c)  furnish commercial and financial services to affiliated cooperatives?
(d)  represent the national cooperative movement at the international level?
(e)  carry out other activities? (Please specify.)

Total number of replies: 92.

Affirmative: Argentina, Austria ((a) to (d)), Azerbaijan ((a) to (d)), Bahamas, ­Barbados, Belarus, Belgium ((b) to (e)), Benin ((a) to (d)), Bolivia, Brazil ((a) to (d)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China ((a) to (d)), Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba ((a) to (d)), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador ((b) to (e)), Egypt ((a) to (d)), El Salvador, Estonia ((a) to (d)), Ethiopia ((a) to (d)), Finland ((a), (b), (d) and (e)), France, Gambia, Germany ((b) and (c)), Ghana, Guyana ((a) to (d)), Hungary ((a) to (d)), India, Indonesia, Iraq ((a) to (d)), Israel ((a) to (d)), Italy ((a) to (d)), Jamaica, Japan ((b) to (d)), Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea ((a) to (d)), Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta ((a), (c) and (d)), Mauritius ((a) to (c) and (e)), Mexico, Republic of Moldova ((a) to (d)), Morocco ((a) to (d)), Namibia ((a) to (d)), Nepal ((a) to (d)), Nicaragua, Norway ((a) to (d)), Oman ((a) to (d)), Panama, Peru ((a) to (d)), Philippines, Poland, Qatar ((e)), Romania, Russian Federation ((a) to (d)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a) to (d)), Saint Lucia ((a) to (d)), Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia ((a) to (d)), Spain, Sri Lanka ((a) to (d)), Swaziland ((a) to (d)), Syrian Arab Republic ((a) to (d)), Tajikistan ((a) to (d)), United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand ((a) to (d)), Togo ((a) to (d)), Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia ((a) to (d)), Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates ((a) to (d)), United Kingdom ((a), (d) and (e)), United States ((a) to (d)), Uruguay ((a) to (d)), Venezuela, Zimbabwe ((a) to (d)).

Negative: Austria ((e)), Azerbaijan ((e)), Brazil ((e)), Cuba ((e)), Ecuador ((a)), Egypt ((e)), Estonia ((e)), Germany ((d) and (e)), Italy ((e)), Japan ((a)), Republic of Korea ((e)), Malta ((e)), Mauritius ((d)), Peru ((e)), Syrian Arab Republic ((e)), United States ((e)), Uruguay ((e)), Zimbabwe ((e)).

Other: Belgium ((a)), China ((e)), Finland ((c)), Israel ((e)), Lebanon, Malta ((b)), Portugal, Swaziland ((e)), Switzerland, Tajikistan ((e)).

Almost all replies to Questions 12(a) to (d) affirmed that cooperative organizations, and in particular their unions and federations, should establish active partnerships with employers’ and workers’ organizations and development agencies, finance and manage their own technical support services, furnish commercial and financial services to their affiliates and represent the cooperative movement at the international level. With regard to the financing and management of technical support services, such as management consultancy, human resource development and external audit, a number of replies indicated that this was a key factor in ensuring the viability and independence of cooperatives. However, some concern was also expressed, particularly by some low-income countries, that this might not be feasible, at least in the initial stages of cooperative development, necessitating support from public funds. The Office proposes, therefore, that the words “where feasible” be included in Point 12(b) of the Proposed Conclusions. A considerable number of useful suggestions for additional activities of cooperative organizations were mentioned, including promoting linkages between cooperatives in developing and developed countries, education and training, social services and others. There were also calls for cooperative organizations to be active in promoting the cooperative concept specifically in the informal sector. The Office proposes that Point 12(e) of the Proposed Conclusions be formulated as follows: “carry out other activities for the promotion of cooperatives, including in the informal sector”.

V. Policy framework
 

Qu. 13(1)

Should the instrument recommend the promotion of voluntary and independent cooperatives as one of the objectives of national economic and social development?

 

Total number of replies: 93.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: El Salvador, Switzerland.

Other: Japan, Lebanon, Philippines, United States.

Qu. 13(2)

Should such cooperatives and other enterprises or social organizations be treated on equal terms?

Total number of replies: 93.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Bahamas, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, Hungary, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago.

Other: France, Lebanon, Malta, Portugal.

The vast majority of replies indicated strong support for including a provision recommending the promotion of voluntary and independent cooperatives as one of the objectives of national economic and social development. Many replies emphasized the contribution that cooperatives are already making to further social and economic development in their respective countries, and a large number of replies stressed the need to preserve the voluntary and independent nature of cooperatives. The Office has therefore decided to add a reference to the universal cooperative principles (set forth in Point 7) to the provision contained in the question. Most replies were in favour of including in the instrument a provision recommending that cooperatives and other enterprises or social organizations be treated on equal terms. However, a significant minority of replies expressed a different view, arguing that the special nature of cooperatives justifies special treatment or positive discrimination. Many employers’, workers’ and other organizations shared this view. The Office has given further thought to this issue, and proposes a slightly revised text for consideration by the Conference, which has been included in Point 13 of the Proposed Conclusions.
 

Qu. 14(1)

Should member States’ policies include, as recommended by current international standards, measures which:

(a)  create an appropriate legal and institutional framework for cooperatives?
(b)  facilitate access to credit for cooperatives?
(c)  promote education in the principles and practices of cooperative membership?
(d)  develop the technical and managerial abilities of both members and managers?
(e)  contribute to the spread of information on cooperatives?
(f)  improve the level of productivity and quality of the goods and services produced by cooperatives?
(g)  facilitate access of cooperatives to markets?
(h)  improve national statistics on cooperatives with a view to the formulation and implementation of       development policies?

Total number of replies: 94.

Affirmative: Algeria ((a) to (c), (e) and (h)), Argentina, Austria ((a) and (c) to (h)), Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium ((a) to (e), (g) and (h)), Benin, Bolivia, Brazil ((a) and (b), (e) to (h)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia ((a) and (h)), Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt ((b) to (h)), El Salvador, Estonia ((a), (c) to (h)), Ethiopia, Finland, France ((a) to (f) and (h)), Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel ((a) to (g)), Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, ((a) to (c) and (g)), Kuwait, Lebanon ((b), (e), (g) and (h)), Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta ((a), (c) to (f) and (h)), Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco ((a) to (e), (g) and (h)), Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru ((a) to (e) and (g)), Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar ((b) to (d), (f) to (h)), Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States ((a) to (e), (g) and (h)), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Algeria ((f) and (g)), Austria ((b)), Belgium ((f)), Brazil ((c) and (d)), Croatia ((b) to (g)), Estonia ((b)), France ((g)), Israel ((h)), Republic of Korea ((d) to (f) and (h)), Peru ((f) and (h)), United States ((f)).

Other: Algeria ((d)), Egypt ((a)), Lebanon ((a), (c), (d) and (f)), Malta ((b) and (g)).

Qu. 14(2)

Should the instrument also recommend measures which:

(a)  limit the role of the State with regard to cooperatives to regulatory functions, dissolution and the       enforcement of cooperative legislation?
(b)  decentralize as far as possible to the regional and local levels the formulation and       implementation of policies and regulations regarding cooperatives?
(c)  limit the legal obligations on cooperatives to registration, audits and the receipt of licences and       establishment of business reports in the same manner as is required of any other form of       business?

Total number of replies: 92.

Affirmative: Argentina ((b) and (c)), Austria ((a) and (c)), Azerbaijan ((a) and (c)), Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium ((a) and (c)), Benin ((a) and (c)), Bolivia, Bulgaria ((a) and (c)), Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon ((a) and (c)), Canada ((c)), Chad, Chile ((b) and (c)), China ((a)), Colombia, Costa Rica ((a) and (c)), Croatia, Cyprus ((a) and (b)), Czech Republic, Ecuador ((b)), Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia ((b) and (c)), Finland ((a)), France ((b)), Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, India ((b) and (c)), Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea ((b) and (c)), Kuwait, Lithuania ((c)), Malaysia ((c)), Mali, Mauritius ((a)), Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman ((a) and (b)), Panama ((b)), Peru ((a)), Philippines, Poland, Qatar ((a) and (c)), Romania ((b)), Russian Federation ((c)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((b)), Saint Lucia ((a) and (c)), Senegal ((a) and (b)), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain ((b) and (c)), Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland ((a) and (c)), Syrian Arab Republic ((a)), United Republic of Tanzania ((a) and (c)), Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago ((a)), Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine ((a) and (c)), United Arab Emirates ((a) and (b)), United Kingdom, United States ((a) and (c)), Uruguay ((a) and (b)), Zimbabwe.

Negative: Algeria, Argentina ((a)), Austria ((b)), Azerbaijan ((b)), Belgium ((b)), Benin ((b)), Brazil, Bulgaria ((b)), Cameroon ((b)), Canada ((a) and (b)), China ((b) and (c)), Costa Rica ((b)), Cuba, Cyprus ((c)), Ecuador ((a) and (c)), El Salvador, Ethiopia ((a)), Finland ((c)), France ((c)), India ((a)), Israel ((a) and (c)), Japan, Republic of Korea ((a)), Lithuania ((a) and (b)), Malaysia ((a) and (b)), Malta, Mauritius ((b) and (c)), Panama ((a) and (c)), Peru ((b) and (c)), Romania ((a)), Russian Federation ((a) and (b)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a) and (c)), Saint Lucia ((b)), Senegal ((c)), Spain ((a)), Switzerland ((b)), Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania ((b)), Ukraine ((b)), United Arab Emirates ((c)), United States ((b)), Uruguay ((c)), Venezuela.

Other: Finland ((b)), Israel ((b)), Lebanon, Oman ((c)), Portugal, Trinidad and Tobago ((b) and (c)).

Nearly all governments supported the provision envisaged in Question 14 (1), including all subparagraphs (a) to (h). This high degree of consensus amongst governments was reinforced by an equally high level of agreement in support of the provision by workers’ and employers’ organizations. Although a majority of governments expressed support for Question 14 (2) as well, this provision caused more controversy. A significant number of governments expressed the view that government should have supervisory powers over cooperatives, in addition to the functions listed in subpara­graph 14(2)(a). This opinion was shared by a few workers’ and employers’ organizations. The Office is of the view that the application of cooperative legislation includes supervisory powers in countries where the relevant legislation grants the State such powers. Since this subject is already adequately covered in Point 9, it was decided to amend Point 14 accordingly to avoid repetition. A significant number of governments, as well as some workers’ and employers’ organizations, did not agree with the provision in subparagraph 14(2)(b) because the size, administrative structure or decision-making procedures in their countries were not compatible with decentralization of the formulation of policies and regulations regarding cooperatives. However, since most governments supported the provision, and the Proposed Conclusions recommend such decentralization only “where possible”, the Office has decided to include a reference to decentralization in the Proposed Conclusions. The majority of governments supported the provision in subparagraph 14(2)(c), but a significant minority of them disagreed for a variety of reasons. Some governments were of the view that the legal obligations of cooperatives should be left solely to national laws; others said that cooperatives should be subject to specific legal obligations because of their special nature; and a third group was of the view that cooperatives should be subject to simplified legal provisions. The Office has therefore decided to amend paragraph 14(2) in the Proposed Conclusions by adding the words “to the same extent as is required by national law of any other form of business”. The provisions contained under Question 14, as amended, now stand as Point 14 of the Proposed Conclusions.

VI. Measures for implementing policies for the promotion of cooperatives

A. Legislation
 

Qu. 15

Is it desirable that member States adopt specific legislation on cooperatives and periodically revise such legislation? If so, is it desirable that such legislation recognize explicitly the cooperative characteristics listed in Question 7 above?

Total number of replies: 92.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Japan.

Other: Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, United States.

The overwhelming majority of replies supported the view that member States should adopt and periodically revise specific legislation on cooperatives. This view was shared by governments as well as employers’ and workers’ organizations. An equally great majority of replies was in favour of including in such legislation explicit recognition of the cooperative principles listed in Question 7. The provision contained in Question 15 has been included in the Proposed Conclusions as Point 15.
 

Qu. 16

Should the instrument recommend the consultation of the employers’ and workers’ organizations concerned, as well as cooperative organizations, in the formulation of cooperative legislation?

Total number of replies: 93.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Croatia, Germany, Japan, Namibia, Uruguay.

Other: Finland, Lebanon, Portugal.

A very large majority of replies received from governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations supported the provision that the formulation of cooperative legislation should be done in consultation with employers’ and workers’ organizations and cooperative organizations. Some replies indicated that the institutional framework for such consultation already exists in the country concerned. A few replies indicated that the consultation process should be extended to all the other stakeholders concerned in cooperative development. In view of the fact that it would be impossible to draw up a comprehensive list of all stakeholders in all member States, the Office has decided to retain the original formulation of the provision contained in Question 16, which has been included in the Proposed Conclusions as Point 15(3).

B. Establishment of support services for cooperatives
 

Qu. 17(1)

Should cooperatives have access to a package of support services to strengthen their business viability and their capacity to create employment and income?

Total number of replies: 93.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Austria, Kuwait, Switzerland.

Other: Lebanon, Portugal.

Qu. 17(2)

If so, should these services include the following?

(a)  training programmes for the improvement of the entrepreneurial capabilities of members,       managers and employees of cooperatives?
(b)  research and management consultancy services?
(c)  access to finance and investment?
(d)  external audit and accountancy?
(e)  management information services?
(f)  information and public relations services?
(g)  consultancy services on technology and innovation?
(h)  legal and tax services?
(i)  other specialized services? (Please specify.)

Total number of replies: 91.

Affirmative: Algeria ((a) to (d) and (f) to (h)), Argentina ((a) to (e) and (g) to (i)), Azerbaijan ((a) to (h)), Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin ((a) to (h)), Bolivia, Brazil ((b) and (c)), Bulgaria ((a) to (c) and (e) to (i)), Burkina Faso ((a) to (h)), Cambodia ((a) to (h)), Cameroon ((a) to (h)), Canada, Chad, Chile ((a) to (h)), China ((a) to (h)), Colombia ((a) to (h)), Costa Rica, Croatia ((a) to (h)), Cuba ((a) to (h)), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt ((a) to (h)), El Salvador, Estonia ((a) to (h)), Ethiopia ((a) to (h)), Finland ((a) to (h)), France ((a) to (h)), Gambia ((a) to (h)), Germany ((a) to (h)), Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq ((a) to (h)), Israel ((a) to (h)), Italy ((a) to (h)), Jamaica ((a) to (d), (f), (g) and (i)), Japan ((a) to (h)), Jordan ((a) to (c)and (g)), Kenya, Republic of Korea ((a) to (h)), Lebanon, Lithuania ((a) to (h)), Malaysia, Mali ((a) to (h)), Malta ((a) to (g)), Mauritius ((a), (b), (d) to (g)), Mexico, Republic of Moldova ((a) to (h)), Morocco, Namibia ((a) to (h)), Nepal, ­Nicaragua, Norway ((a) to (h)), Oman ((a) to (h)), Panama, Peru ((a) to (h)), Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a) to (g)), Saint Lucia ((a) to (h)), Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia ((a) to (h)), Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland ((a) to (h)), Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo ((a) to (h)), Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia ((a) to (h)), Turkey ((a) to (h)), Ukraine, United Arab Emirates ((a) to (h)), United Kingdom, United States ((a) to (h)), Uruguay ((a) to (h)), Venezuela, Zimbabwe ((a) to (h)).

Negative: Argentina ((f)), Austria, Azerbaijan ((i)), Benin ((i)), Brazil ((a), (d) to (i)), Bulgaria ((d)), Cameroon ((i)), Colombia ((i)), Croatia ((i)), Cuba ((i)), Estonia ((i)), Germany ((i)), Italy ((i)), Jordan ((d) to (f), (h) and (i)), Republic of Korea ((i)), Malta ((h) and (i)), Peru ((i)), United States ((i)), Uruguay ((i)), Zimbabwe ((i)).

Other: Algeria ((e)), Jamaica ((h)), Lebanon ((a) to (h)), Namibia ((i)), Portugal.

Qu. 17(3.1)

Should the above package of services, in principle, be financed by the cooperative organizations themselves?

Total number of replies: 91.

Affirmative: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Saint Lucia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Switzerland, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Austria, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, El Salvador, Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Norway, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka.

Other: Algeria, France, Hungary, Italy, Lebanon, Mali, Namibia, Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, Swaziland, Togo.

Qu. 17(3.2)

If such financing is not considered appropriate, or where it is not currently feasible, how should these services be financed?

Total number of replies: 72.

Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Swaziland, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Zimbabwe.

Replies expressed overwhelming support for the provision contained in Question 17 (1), as well as for subparagraphs (a) to (h) of Question 17 (2). Regarding subparagraph (i), a significant number of suggestions were made for additional services. The Office feels that many of these are appropriate and has decided to include a provision on other services in Point 16 of the Proposed Conclusions in subpara­graph (i). While most governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations supported the provision recommending that support services should, in principle, be financed by cooperatives themselves, a significant number of replies disagreed with this view because the respondents did not believe that cooperatives have the financial capacity to pay for all support services. Even those that supported the provision often observed that cooperatives in an early stage of development, or those established in poorer countries, should receive some assistance from the State or external donors to finance support services. Many others were of the view that human resource development services should be in any case financed by the State. The Office has therefore amended the provision in the Proposed Conclusions by including the phrase “where feasible and appropriate”.
 

Qu. 18

Should the instrument recommend measures to facilitate the access of cooperatives to investment finance and credit? If so:

(a)  should additional measures be adopted to address related problems, for example, bureaucratic        procedures, low level of cooperative assets, cost of loan transactions?
(b)  should specific measures be adopted to provide for an autonomous system of finance for       cooperatives, including credit and savings cooperatives, cooperative banks and cooperative       insurance?
(c)  should credit and finance facilities be offered at market conditions as for other forms of business       enterprises?
(d)  should special conditions be offered to vulnerable groups?

Total number of replies: 92.

Affirmative: Algeria (18), Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium (18 and (a)), Benin, Bolivia, Brazil (18, (c) and (d)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Cambodia, Cameroon (18), (a), (b) and (d)), Canada, Chad, China (18, (b) to (d)), Colombia, Costa Rica (18), Croatia, Cuba (18, (a), (c) and (d)), Cyprus (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt (18, (a) to (c)), El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia (18, (a) and (b)), Finland (18, (a), (c) and (d)), Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Hungary ((a), (b) and (d)), India (18, (b) to (d)), Indonesia (18, (a) to (c)), Iraq (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Israel, Italy, Jamaica (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Jordan (18, (a) and (d)), Kenya, Republic of Korea (18, (b) to (d)), Lebanon (18), Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Malta (18, (a), (c) and (d)), Mauritius (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Mexico (18, (a), (c) and (d)), Republic of Moldova, Morocco (18 and (c)), Namibia ((a) to (d)), Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman (18, (b) to (d)), Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar ((d)), Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a), (b) and (d)), Saint Lucia (18, (a) and (c)), Senegal (18), Slovakia ((a), (b), (d)), Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka ((c) and (d)), Swaziland ((a) to (d)), Switzerland ((a), (c) and (d)), Syrian Arab Republic ((d)), Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Togo, Trinidad and Tobago (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Tunisia, Turkey (18, (a), (b) and (d)), Ukraine, United Arab Emirates (18, (a), (b) and (d)), United Kingdom ((b) and (c)), United States (18, (c) and (d)), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Austria, Belgium ((d)), Brazil ((a) and (b)), Burkina Faso ((c)), Cameroon ((c)), Chile (18), China ((a)), Costa Rica ((a) to (d)), Cuba ((b)), Cyprus ((c)), Finland ((b)), Guyana ((c)), Iraq ((c)), Jamaica ((c)), Japan, Jordan ((c)), Republic of Korea ((a)), Kuwait (18), Mali ((c)), Malta ((b)), Mauritius ((c)), Mexico ((b)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((c)), Saint Lucia ((b) and (d)), Senegal ((a) to (d)), Slovakia ((c)), Sri Lanka (18, (a) and (b)), Switzerland ((b)), Syrian Arab Republic ((c)), Thailand ((c)), Trinidad and Tobago ((c)), Turkey ((c)), United Arab Emirates ((c)), United Kingdom (18 and (d)).

Other: Algeria ((a) to (d)), Belgium ((b) and (c)), Egypt ((d)), Hungary ((c)), India ((a)), Indonesia ((d)), Jordan ((b)), Lebanon ((a) to (d)), Namibia (18), Portugal, Qatar ((c)), United States ((a) and (b)).

The proposal to include a provision to facilitate the access of cooperatives to investment finance and credit was supported by a large majority of replies, most of which agreed to subparagraphs (a), (b) and (d). Regarding subparagraph (c), a significant number of replies proposed that cooperatives should, because of their special nature, have access to preferential credit and finance conditions. The Office has taken this view into account by adding the words “as far as possible” to Point 17(a) of the Proposed Conclusions. A few replies pointed out that decisions on some or all subparagraphs are subject to national legislation, or are dependent on particular national conditions and capacities. The Office takes note of these comments, but since the proposed Recommendation is not subject to ratification, but rather gives guidance to policy, legislation and practice, it has been decided not to reflect these comments in the Proposed Conclusions at this stage. Regarding subparagraph 18(d), the Office has decided to replace the term “vulnerable groups” by “disadvantaged groups” in order to harmonize the text throughout the Proposed Conclusions. The provisions contained in Question 18 have been included as Point 17 of the Proposed Conclusions.
 

Qu. 19

Should the instrument encourage the development of linkages among all forms of cooperatives in order to encourage an exchange of experience and the sharing of risks and benefits for the promotion of the cooperative movement?

Total number of replies: 89.

Affirmative: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Negative: Cameroon, Senegal, Switzerland.

Other: Lebanon, Portugal.

Almost all replies indicated that linkages among cooperatives to allow the exchange of experience and the sharing of risks and benefits for the promotion of the cooperative movement should be encouraged by the instrument. Some replies cited the international principle of encouraging cooperation between cooperatives, others mentioned the benefits that would accrue to the cooperative movement as a whole. Point 18 of the Proposed Conclusions reflects this consensus.

VII. International cooperation
 

Qu. 20

Should the instrument recommend that Members take appropriate meas­ures to facilitate international cooperation in the following areas:

(a)  the exchange of information on policies and programmes which have proved to be effective in        employment creation and income generation for members of cooperatives?
(b)  the encouragement and promotion of linkages between national and international bodies and       institutions involved in the development of cooperatives, in order to:

     (i)    exchange personnel and ideas?
     (ii)   exchange educational or training materials, methodologies and reference materials?
     (iii)  facilitate the compilation and utilization of research material and other data on cooperatives             and their development?
     (iv)  establish alliances and international partnerships between cooperatives?
     (v)   promote and protect cooperative values and principles?
     (vi)  carry out other activities? (Please specify.)

(c)  promotion of the access of cooperatives to national and international data such as market      information, legislation, training methods and techniques, technology and product standards?

Total number of replies: 94.

Affirmative: Argentina, Austria ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Azerbaijan ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Benin, Bolivia, Brazil ((a), (b)(i) to (iii), (v) and (c)), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Cameroon ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Canada, Chad, Chile ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), China ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Colombia ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Costa Rica, Croatia ((a), (b)(iii) to (v) and (c)), Cuba ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador ((a), (b)(i) to (iv)), Estonia ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Ethiopia ((b)(ii) to (v) and (c)), Finland, France ((a) and (b)(i)), Gambia, Germany ((b) and (c)), Ghana ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Guyana, Hungary, India ((a), (b)(ii) to (v) and (c)), Indonesia, Iraq, Israel ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Italy ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Jamaica ((a), (b)(i) to (iv) and (vi)), Japan, Jordan ((a), (b)(i) to (v)), Kenya, Republic of Korea ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Kuwait, Lebanon ((b)(iii)), Lithuania ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Malaysia, Mali, Malta ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Mauritius ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Mexico, Republic of Moldova ((a), (b)(ii) to (v) and (c)), Morocco ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Namibia, Nepal ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Nicaragua, Norway, Oman ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Panama, Peru ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Philippines, Poland, Qatar ((a)), Romania, Russian Federation ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Saint Kitts and Nevis ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Saint Lucia ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Senegal ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Swaziland ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Switzerland ((a) and (b)), Syrian Arab Republic ((a) and (c)), Tajikistan ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Trinidad and Tobago ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Tunisia ((a), (b) (i) to (v) and (c)), Turkey ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Ukraine ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), United Arab Emirates ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), United Kingdom ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), United States, Uruguay ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Venezuela ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)), Zimbabwe ((a), (b)(i) to (v) and (c)).

Negative: Algeria, Austria ((b)(vi)), Azerbaijan ((b)(vi)), Brazil ((b)(iv) and (vi)), Cameroon ((b)(vi)), Colombia ((b)(vi)), Croatia ((b)(ii)), Cuba ((b)(vi)), Estonia ((b)(vi)), Italy ((b)(vi)), Republic of Korea ((b)(vi)), Malta ((b)(vi)), Peru ((b)(vi)), Senegal ((b)(vi)), Sri Lanka ((b)(vi)), Turkey ((b)(vi)), United Kingdom ((b)(vi)), Uruguay ((b)(vi)), Venezuela ((b)(vi)), Zimbabwe ((b)(vi)).

Other: Belgium ((b)(vi)), China ((b)(vi)), Germany ((a)), Israel ((b)(vi)), Jamaica ((b)(v) and (c)), Lebanon ((a), (b)(i), (ii), (iv) to (vi) and (c)), Portugal, Switzerland ((c)).

Since almost all the replies were affirmative, the provision has been included as Point 19 in the Proposed Conclusions.

  


Proposed conclusions

The following Proposed Conclusions have been prepared on the basis of the replies summarized and commented upon in this report. They have been drafted in the usual form and are intended to serve as a basis for discussion by the International Labour Conference of the fifth item on the agenda of the 89th Session (2001).

A. Form of the instrument

1.  The International Labour Conference should adopt an instrument on the promotion of cooperatives.

2.  The instrument should take the form of a Recommendation.

B. Preamble

3.  The instrument should contain a preamble referring to relevant ILO instruments which might include the following: the Employment Policy Convention, 1964, and Employment Policy (Supplementary Provisions) Recommendation, 1984; the Rural Workers’ Organisations Convention and Recommendation, 1975; the Human Resources Development Convention and Recommendation, 1975; and the Job Creation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998.

C. Objective, scope and definition

4.  Members should adopt measures to promote the potential of cooperatives, in all countries, irrespective of their level of development, to assist their membership to:

(a)  create employment and expand access to income-generating activities;
(b)  develop their business potential, including entrepreneurial and managerial ca­pacities, through education and training;
(c)  increase savings and investment; and
(d)  improve social well-being, with emphasis on gender equality, housing, health care and community development.

5.  The instrument should apply to all types and forms of cooperatives, both worker- and client-owned, and to all economic and social sectors, such as rural and urban, primary, secondary and tertiary, formal and informal, in which cooperatives operate.

6.  The instrument should define “cooperative” as “an association of persons who have voluntarily joined together to achieve a common end through the formation of a democratically controlled organization, making equitable contributions to the capital required and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the enterprise in which the members actively participate”.

7.  The instrument should encourage the promotion and strengthening of the identity of cooperatives based upon the following cooperative principles:

(a)  voluntary and open membership;
(b)  democratic member control;
(c)  member economic participation;
(d)  autonomy and independence;
(e)  education, training and information;
(f)  cooperation among cooperatives; and
(g)  concern for community.

8.  The instrument should encourage the adoption of measures enabling cooperatives, like any other form of enterprise and organization, to respond to the needs of disadvantaged groups.

D. Role of governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations
and cooperative organizations and relationship between them

9.  Members should limit the role of governments to the regulation of cooperatives as follows:

(a)  the establishment of a policy and legal framework based on the cooperative principles listed in Point 7;
(b)  the establishment of an institutional framework allowing for registration of cooperatives in a rapid and simplified manner;
(c)  the establishment of a policy and legal framework for the promotion of a vertical cooperative structure, according to the       needs of cooperative members; and
(d)  the adoption of measures for the oversight of cooperatives on equal terms to those applied to other forms of enterprise.

10.  Employers’ organizations should be encouraged to:

(a)  extend membership to cooperatives wishing to join them and provide appropriate support services such as:

(b)  assist their members in enabling their employees to create consumer, savings and credit and housing cooperatives; and
(c)  carry out other activities for the promotion of cooperatives, including in the informal sector.

11.  Workers’ organizations should be encouraged to:

(a) advise their members to establish cooperatives with the special aim of facilitating access to basic consumer goods, loans,       housing and social services;
(b) promote the establishment of cooperatives in the informal sector in order to improve the competitiveness of       micro-enterprises and to organize social services;
(c) participate in committees and working groups at the national and local levels to consider economic and social issues       having an impact on cooperatives;
(d) participate in the setting up of new cooperatives with a view to the creation or maintenance of employment, for example       in the case of the conversion of enterprises in the private and public sectors;
(e) participate in programmes for cooperatives aimed at improving productivity and equality of opportunity; and
(f)  carry out other activities for the promotion of cooperatives.

12.  Cooperative organizations, and in particular their unions and federations, should be encouraged to:

(a) establish an active partnership with employers’ and workers’ organizations and relevant governmental and       non-governmental agencies with a view to creating a favourable climate for the development of cooperatives;
(b) finance and manage their own technical support services, including, where feasible, management consultancy, human      resource development and external audit;
(c) furnish commercial and financial services to affiliated cooperatives;
(d) represent the national cooperative movement at the international level; and
(e) carry out other activities for the promotion of cooperatives, including in the informal sector.

E. Policy framework

13. (1)  Members should consider the promotion of cooperatives based on the principles set forth in Point 7 as one of the objectives of national economic and social development.

(2)  Members should treat cooperatives on terms not less favourable than those accorded to other forms of enterprise and social organization. However, special consideration may be given to the needs of members of disadvantaged groups organized in cooperatives.

14. (1)  Members’ policies should, inter alia:

(a) facilitate access to credit for cooperatives;
(b) promote education in cooperative principles and practices;
(c) develop the technical and managerial abilities of both members and managers;
(d) disseminate information on cooperatives;
(e)  improve the level of productivity of cooperatives and the quality of goods and services they produce;
(f)  facilitate access of cooperatives to markets; and
(g)  improve national statistics on cooperatives with a view to the formulation and implementation of development policies.

(2)  Such policies should:

(a) decentralize to the regional and local levels, where possible, the formulation and implementation of policies and       regulations regarding cooperatives; and
(b) limit the legal obligations on cooperatives to areas such as registration, audit, the receipt of licences and the establishment      of business reports to the same extent as is required by national law of any other form of enterprise.

F. Implementation of policies for the promotion of cooperatives

15. (1)  Members should adopt specific legislation on cooperatives and periodically revise such legislation.

(2)  Such legislation should recognize explicitly the cooperative principles listed in Point 7.

(3)  Members should consult cooperative organizations, as well as the employers’ and workers’ organizations concerned, in the formulation and revision of relevant cooperative legislation.

16. (1)  Cooperatives should have access to support services in order to strengthen their business viability and their capacity to create employment and income.

(2)  These services should include the following:

(a)  training programmes for the improvement of the entrepreneurial capabilities of members, managers and employees of       cooperatives;
(b) research and management consultancy services;
(c) access to finance and investment;
(d) accountancy and external audit;
(e) management information services;
(f)  information and public relations services;
(g) consultancy services on technology and innovation;
(h)  legal and taxation services; and
(i)  other services as required by cooperatives operating in specific economic sectors.

(3)  Support services should, where feasible and appropriate, be financed by cooperatives and their organizations.

17.  Members should adopt measures to facilitate the access of cooperatives to investment finance and credit. Specific measures should:

(a)  enable credit and other financial facilities to be offered, as far as possible under market conditions;
(b)  simplify administrative procedures, remedy the low level of cooperative assets and reduce the cost of loan transactions;
(c)  facilitate an autonomous system of finance for cooperatives, including savings and credit, banking and insurance       cooperatives; and
(d)  include special provisions for disadvantaged groups.

18.  For the promotion of the cooperative movement, Members should create conditions favourable to the development of technical, commercial and financial linkages among all forms of cooperatives in order to encourage an exchange of experience and the sharing of risks and benefits.

G. International cooperation

19.  Members should take appropriate measures to facilitate international cooperation through:

(a)  the exchange of information on policies and programmes which have proved to be effective in employment creation and       income generation for members of cooperatives;
(b)  the encouragement and promotion of linkages between national and international bodies and institutions involved in the       development of cooperatives in order to permit:

(c)  access of cooperatives to national and international data such as market information, legislation, training methods and       techniques, technology and product standards.


1 ILO: Promotion of cooperatives, Report V(1), International Labour Conference, 89th Session, Geneva, 2001.

2 Recommendation No. 127 states in Paragraph 12(1) that laws and regulations should include: “(a) a definition or description of a cooperative bringing out its essential characteristics, namely that it is an association of persons who have voluntarily joined together to achieve a common end through the formation of a democratically controlled organisation, making equitable contributions to the capital required and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the undertaking in which the members actively participate.”

3 These are the universal values and principles as expressed in the Statement on the Co-operative Identity, 1995, of the International Co-operative Alliance.

Updated by HK. Approved by RH. Last update: 23 March 2001.