In January 2021, the International Cooperative Alliance took over as chair of the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) for a two-year period.
Dating back to 1971, COPAC brings together global public and private institutions to champion and support people-centred and self-sustaining cooperative enterprises as leaders in sustainable development.
ICA Director General, Bruno Roelants said: “The ICA looks forward to coordinating the work of COPAC in order to ensure the cooperative voice is heard in all global policy discussions. Following the determination and leadership of our predecessor, the International Labour Organization (ILO), COPAC will continue to champion cooperatives as people-centred enterprises that are drivers of sustainable development”.
The handover took place during a meeting on 29 January. The chairing of COPAC by the ICA comes at a moment when political innovation is needed more than ever. It will be of a great importance that COPAC define a new and robust strategy to positioning cooperatives as key actors for a people-centred and environmentally just recovery.
COPAC focus and members
To advance their shared mission and vision, the members of COPAC collaborate on promoting and raising awareness about cooperatives, strengthening cooperatives around the world through capacity building, participating in policy initiatives that affect cooperatives and serving as a resource for cooperative knowledge through information gathering and sharing. COPAC is also responsible for choosing the theme of the UN’s International Day of Cooperatives, which is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July. In this respect, COPAC will be announcing the theme for this year’s International Day of Cooperatives in the coming weeks.
Its current members are the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the ICA. A former member, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) recently left COPAC and will continue working with and on cooperatives on a bi-lateral basis with the ICA and other COPAC members.