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CICOPA announces the creation of the CICOPA Asia-Pacific regional network

Seoul, 29 November 2021

CICOPA member organisations in Asia and the Pacific gathered in Seoul (South Korea) for the launch of CICOPA Asia-Pacific, the network of Industrial and Service Cooperatives in the region.

On Monday 29 November 2021, in the framework of the ICA 33rd World Cooperative Congress in Seoul, cooperative organizations affiliating and promoting cooperatives active in industry and service from Japan, South Korea, India, China, Philippines, Iran, and Indonesia gathered physically and online, to launch the CICOPA Asia-Pacific network. The event was co-hosted by CICOPA and Japan Worker Co-operatives Union (JWCU) and received encouraging words from Bruno Roelants, Director of the ICA.

“Today we are facing an important moment for worker and social cooperatives and the global cooperative movement. 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” said Iñigo Albizuri, President of CICOPA.

The ICA Asia Pacific and CICOPA joint research on “Cooperatives in Industrial and Service Sectors in the Asia-Pacific region“, published in 2019, has 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. The result of the latter was an important stepping stone toward the establishment of the network.

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. Due to these reasons, over the last years, more governments across the Asia-Pacific region have found interest in promoting them, and are developing favorable public policies.

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, demographic changes, etc. 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”

The purpose of the CICOPA Asia-Pacific network will be, despite its diversity, to explore the common identity, exchange information, create synergies and strengthen the development of these cooperatives.

“Today is a historic day. 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” said Nobuhiro Furumura, President of JWCU.

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