International Conference of Labour Statisticians adopts draft co-op guidelines

The guidelines aim to facilitate the development of a set of statistics on the sector

The 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians adopted a series of guidelines to develop a set of statistics on co-operatives.

Held once every five years, the International Conference of Labour Statisticians brings together experts from governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations and interest groups to make recommendations on labour statistics.

Once the governing body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) approves them, the recommendations become part of international standards on labour statistics.

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) has been involved in this process along with the ICA Committee on Cooperative Research (CCR) and the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Co-operatives (CICOPA).

The draft guidelines point out that statistics on co-ops should allow for monitoring of their contribution  to labour markets and the economy; inform the design, implementation and evaluation of economic and social policies and programmes; and facilitate analysis of groups of workers or members such as women and men, young people and other groups of particular concern.

According to the recommendations, the set of statistics should include data regarding the number and the type of co-ops, the members of co-ops, the work generated in co-ops, and the economic contribution of co-ops.

In addition, the guidelines mention that statistics on co-ops should be developed in consultation with the various users of the data, “in harmony with other social and economic statistics and in accordance with international standards”.

The document also includes reference concepts and definitions, looking at the different types of co-ops.

The draft guidelines had been discussed earlier in April at the second meeting of the COPAC Technical Working Group (TWG) on Cooperative Statistics at the ILO’s headquarters in Geneva. 

Set up by the Committee of the Promotion of Co-operatives (Copac) in 2016, the TWG unites key stakeholders such as national statistics offices, the co-operative movement, COPAC members, UN agencies, government representatives and researchers, to improve the quality, accessibility and comparability of statistics on co-operatives around the world. Its first meeting took place in 2017.

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