What is COPAC? (1997)

  This document has been made available in electronic format by
Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives COPAC

                        WHAT IS COPAC?

   COPAC is a successful  and on-going partnership between
   representatives  of the  cooperative movement together
   with  farmers' and  workers'  organizations,  and  the
   United Nations and its agencies. Members work together
   on equal terms  to  promote and coordinate sustainable
   cooperative   development  through  policy  dialogues,
   technical  cooperation and  information,  and concrete
   collaborative activities. 

COPAC was established as an inter-agency committee in Rome in
1971 to improve the coordination of its members' activities for
the promotion of co-operatives. On 1 April 1996, COPAC officially
established office in Geneva. 

COPAC's present membership includes three United Nations agencies
and four international non-governmental organizations.  

   Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
   International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
   International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP)
   International Labour Office (ILO)
   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant,
     Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
   United Nations (UN)
   World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)

Its aim is to promote and coordinate cooperative development

Policy Coordination
COPAC promotes cooperation and collaboration among its member and
partner organizations in analyzing policy issues with a view to
developing pragmatic approaches and strategies for the promotion
and advancement of cooperatives.

Information Exchange
COPAC regroups and disseminates information among COPAC members
and other interested organizations concerning member activities,
their technical cooperation programmes, and more general legal
and policy changes affecting cooperative development.

COPAC plays an advocacy role in support of cooperatives as
institutions which organize self-help, promote solidarity and
mobilize resources in order to further the economic and social
development of their members. 

COPAC provides a variety of services to its members and to those
interested in cooperative development to achieve its aims.  These
include an information and publication service, the organization
of meetings, consultations and 'Open Fora' and the conducting of
*    Information Service

Members are provided on a regular basis with a Member Information
Update. This update is a short summary of past, on-going and
future events and activities undertaken by individual members in
areas of potential interest to the whole of COPAC. This
information facilitates member coordination and collaboration in
the planning and implementation of potential joint activities.

The Secretariat also ensures that information on members'
priority areas of work is brought to their attention by regularly
monitoring electronic networks for information on cooperative
development and information.

COPAC also ensures the availability of member information in
electronic format. Although many members now have their own Home
Pages on the World Wide Web, the Secretariat maintains a COPAC
Home page with links to member and other information of interest.
In addition, COPAC collaborates with the International
Co-operative Alliance and the University of Wisconsin's Center
for Cooperatives in making COPAC information available in text
format on the Cooperative Gopher.

*    Publications

COPAC compiles and publishes a "Directory of Agencies Assisting
Cooperatives in Developing Countries" containing information on
over 300 organizations which are working in the field of
cooperative development. Each entry includes a short profile on
the organization, including contact names and addresses, and
indicates the region and countries in which that organization is
presently operating. A geographical matrix indicating the
presence of these agencies in developing countries is also
included for quick reference.

COPAC also publishes Cooperative Information Notes on individual
countries. Initiated in 1979, COPAC now has over 50 country
studies in print.

*    Research

COPAC promotes action-oriented research on the role of
cooperatives in economic and social development. The Secretariat
may be called upon to draft documents or engage in research in
circumstances where a variety of cooperative interests and
viewpoints must be taken into account impartially. For example,
COPAC regularly assists in the preparation of the United Nations
Secretary-General's report on cooperatives - The status and role 
of cooperatives in the light of new economic and social trends. 
The most recent report A/51/267 of 6 August 1996 is available

*    Meetings, Consultations, Open Fora

Occasional symposia and consultations are organized on themes
relating to cooperative development. Participants - cooperative
leaders, officials of development agencies, civil servants,
researchers - come from both developed and developing countries
as well as from countries with transitional economies, thus
ensuring a fruitful exchange. 

The most recent meetings include a COPAC Open Forum on
Cooperatives, Farmers' Organizations and Sustainable Development
held as an official parallel event at the World Summit for Social
Development in March, 1995 and an International Technical Meeting
on Capital Formation in Agricultural Cooperatives held in Rome
in November, 1995.

Support for COPAC Activities
The COPAC Secretariat and its activities are funded by members'
contributions.  In addition, financial support for the specific
informational and research activities including meetings has been
provided by various organizations, including the Canadian
Cooperative Association (CCA), OPEC Fund for International
Development, Societe de developpement international Desjardins
(SDID), Societe de cooperation pour le developpement
international (SOCODEVI). However, COPAC  itself, is not a
funding source for cooperative development.

For further information, please contact the COPAC Secretariat:

          MariaElena Chavez-P, Coordinator
          15 Route des Morillons, 1218 Grand Saconnex, Geneva

          Tel                 +41 22 929 88 25
          Fax                 +41 22 798 41 22
          E-mail              copac@coop.org
          COPAC Home Page     http://www.copacgva.org

                                                  3 April 1997