CICOPA member organisations in Asia and the Pacific gathered in Seoul (Republic of Korea) during the 33rd World Cooperative Congress for the launch of CICOPA Asia-Pacific, the network of Industrial and Service Cooperatives in the region.
Its purpose will be to explore the common identity, exchange information, create synergies and strengthen the development of industrial and service cooperatives.
At the launch event, co-hosted by CICOPA and Japan Worker Co-operatives Union (JWCU), delegates in Soul and online heard how industrial and service cooperatives are contributing to the creation and maintenance of decent jobs, protection of specific industries, provision of social services for unmet needs, development of the local community, entrepreneurial innovation, and democratization of economy and society at large. Because of this, governments across the Asia-Pacific region have recently found interest in promoting them, and are developing favorable public policies.
“Today we are facing an important moment for worker and social cooperatives and the global cooperative movement,” said Iñigo Albizuri, President of CICOPA. “We believe that exchange and inter-cooperation among industrial and service cooperatives in the region will lead to the promotion of decent work through the development and creation of new cooperatives.”
According to Balu Iyer, Regional Director of ICA Asia-Pacific, “the service sector is growing in the region” and will have to tackle important challenges, such as inequalities, migration from rural to urban areas and demographic changes. “It is a good time to come together and build opportunities for cooperatives in industry and services and support young cooperators interested in those sectors, he said.”
In 2019, CICOPA and ICA Asia Pacific and CICOPA published joint research ‘Cooperatives in Industrial and Service Sectors in the Asia-Pacific region’, which contributed to a better understanding of various models of industrial and service cooperatives in the region, despite different forms of employment relationships that might identify them as worker cooperatives, shared service cooperatives, or multi-stakeholder cooperatives. This work was an important stepping stone toward the establishment of the network.
“Today is a historic day,” said Nobuhiro Furumura, President of JWCU. “Many years of hard work by all of us result ultimately in the establishment of CICOPA Asia-Pacific. Let’s celebrate this epoch-making achievement together, and let’s further deepen our cooperation for developing this new organisation”
The last CICOPA Global Report estimates that there are at least 378,000 cooperatives in the industrial and service sectors providing almost 20 million jobs to workers around the world and almost 60% of these cooperatives can be found in Asia-Pacific.
If you are interested in joining this network, contact Osamu Nakano, Director of International Relations, Japan Workers’ Co-operative Union (JWCU), and Francesca Zaganelli, Membership Coordinator of CICOPA at email@example.com.