Co-operative legislation

Co-operatives contribute significantly to economic and social development in virtually all countries. The second part of the 20th century saw co-operative laws to either support or to hinder this development. That is why governments have been revising their co-operative laws over the past one and a half decades with a view to bringing them in line with the universally recognised co-operative values and principles, whilst responding to the challenges of an ever harsher competition amongst businesses at all levels.

Unfortunately, very little information is available on how to draft co-operative law. What are the issues to be considered? What are the effects of specific solutions? In the mid 1990s the Co-operative Branch of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decided to fill this gap by commissioning the elaboration of guidelines for co-operative legislation on the basis of its long term experience in co-operative policy and law advice.

Subsequently 'Guidelines for Cooperative Legislation' was written by Hagen Henrÿ and published jointly by the ILO and the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC). It builds on a wide consultation process and takes into consideration the latest developments, including the adoption of two major international instruments on co-operatives, the 2001 UN Guidelines aimed at creating a supportive environment for the development of cooperatives and the 2002 ILO Recommendation No.193 on the promotion of cooperatives.

The Alliance endorsed a draft version of these guidelines at its 2001 General Assembly in Seoul.

Below are the recent revisions of these guidelines...