The first international standards on statistics of cooperatives have been approved

19 Oct 2018

After 4 years of intensive works led by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) and its technical work group (TWG) in close collaboration with the ILO, “Guidelines concerning statistics of cooperative” was adopted by the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians held in the ILO Headquarter, on 18 October, 2018.

The Guidelines are the first international standards on statistics of cooperatives and it means that the first step is taken towards full recognition of cooperatives in the international statistics standards, which will take still more time.

The Guidelines are the result of intensive research works and discussions made by various stakeholders, such as international organizations, the cooperative movement, national governments, and research community. 

In its 7 pages of text, the Guidelines contain:

  • the statistical definition of cooperative,
  • types of cooperatives,
  • work in cooperatives,
  • data collection and
  • future work to be done.

The adoption was preceded by a session of discussion on 17 October, in which delegations from 10 countries, employer and worker groups and WIEGO expressed their support in emphasizing the importance of cooperatives in their countries. Marie J. Bouchard, chair of the COPAC TWG (President of International Scientific Commission on ‘Social & Cooperative Economy’ for CIRIEC International) and Hyungsik Eum, strategy and statistics coordinator, ICA participated in this historical moment with official observer status. ILO staffs from Coop unit and Department of statistics also showed their full efforts for supporting the adoption of the Guidelines.

Although the guidelines are designed for national statistics offices and will be used mainly by them, it will be important that the cooperative movement, public authorities in charge of cooperatives and research community on the cooperative study would adopt and apply the Guidelines for their data collection system and production of statistical information.

As the next step, it is expected that some pilot testing projects will be organized mainly through national statistics offices. These projects would allow to test the relevance of the Guidelines and to produce more detailed methods which might be used for producing an international statistics manual on cooperatives. Some back-up documents for providing detailed information on the Guidelines will be also published.

For the cooperative movement, it will be important :

  • to promote the Guidelines in their countries in asking the governments and statistics offices to develop statistics on cooperatives,
  • to strengthen their own data collection system in line with the Guidelines and
  • to collaborate for developing a database system in the ICA system for making more visible cooperatives and their specificities as well as for stimulating the development of international standards on statistics of cooperatives.

ICA has been strongly involved in the process together with ICA CCR and CICOPA.

Download the documents here