Guidelines for cooperative legislation, third revised edition

Provides guidance on how to draft a cooperative law.

Cooperatives contribute significantly to economic and social development in virtually all countries of the world. Their documented resilience to crisis and thus sustainability, and their particularity of being principles based enterprises that are member controlled and led are increasingly drawing the attention of governments, policy-makers and citizens around the world. The fact that cooperatives serve their members and as such balance the need for profitability with the needs of their members makes them different from stock companies and thus requires laws that recognize their specificities.

The ILO has played a key role in providing guidance and advice on the creation of enabling environments for cooperative development at national, regional and international levels. In the mid-1990s it first commissioned the elaboration of guidelines for cooperative legislation to fill the gap of information on how to draft a cooperative law and policy. In 2005 a second edition was produced to provide information on two new international instruments on cooperatives – the United Nations Guidelines aimed at creating a supportive environment for the development of cooperatives, and the 2002 ILO Recommendation No. 193 on the promotion of cooperatives.

This new third edition has been produced to incorporate more new developments that impact how cooperative law is being developed. These new developments are multiple and include a general trend in the harmonization of law, the emergence of international regulations which directly impact enterprises, new regional cooperative legislation and regional framework laws as well as innovation in the cooperative form of enterprise itself.

These guidelines are a contribution to fulfilling the aims of the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives celebrated in 2012 and its follow-up.

This book is published jointly by the ILO and the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC).