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ICA-AP Forum on Development of Co-operatives in Pacific Islands

& Observance of International Day of Co-operatives 2018

July 5-7, 2018. Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu







The International Cooperative Alliance – Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) Forum on Development of Co-operatives in Pacific Islands [The Pacific Forum] is being organized on July 5 & 6, 2018 at Hotel Holiday Inn, Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu. The Forum is an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas & knowledge on development of co-operatives and to integrate co-operatives and representative organizations in the Pacific region.  The basic purpose of this initiative is to  bring together all our members on a common platform to share, inform, learn, network and explore ways and means to develop and strengthen the coop movement in their respective countries as well as in the region. The Forum will also mark the 2018 International Day of Co-operatives (#CoopsDay2018) on 7 July 2018 with local co-operators in Vanuatu. Responsible Consumption and Production is the ICA slogan for #CoopsDay2018 and will complement the exposition of products produced by co-operatives in Vanuatuan.

The Forum is being organized in partnership with Alliance member Office of the Registrar of Co-operatives and Business Development Services (ORCBDS), Government of the Republic of Vanuatu, and the ICA-EU Partnership on Co-operatives in Development: People Centered Businesses in Action.




The ICA has a strong network of co-operatives across the globe and continues to grow its network of co-operatives and government departments in charge of co-operatives. These actors play a crucial role in local co-operative development through member services, technical assistance, research & support on data, political representation and advocacy work. While several movements in the Asia Pacific region have had a long history of strong institutions and federations, a few other countries particularly in sub-regional groupings like Central Asia, Pacific Islands and to an extent Middle East, are faced with diverse challenges for varied reasons, in the development of co-operatives and co-operative institutions.


The Forum is to mark the development intervention of ICA-AP, in form of an exploratory & engagement mission for development of co-operatives and co-operative institutions (ORCs, federations, universities etc.) in the Pacific Islands states. The Pacific Forum will employ a two-pronged approach namely INFORM and BUILD aimed to enhance knowledge sharing & regional integration among co-operative movements in the Pacific, and to concur on steps needed to enhance the technical, institutional and advocacy capacity of organizations representing Pacific co-operatives. In 2017, the ICA-AP organized a similar Forum in Central Asia at Bishkek & marked the #CoopsDay2017at Issyk Kul Organic Co-operatives, Kyrgyz Republic. The intervention witnessed the participation of development stakeholders from Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Switzerland, Afghanistan and India, and with the successful application of the Co-operative Union of Kyrgyzstan as a member of the ICA in 2018, and with follow up seminar and advocacy slated for September 2018. The main outcomes of the Central Asian Forum included the identification of challenges for co-operative development in the region like dated legal environment, lack of partnerships of co-operatives with other development stakeholders & promote the co-operative identity. The recommendations included creating opportunities for technical cooperation projects in pursuit of an enabling legal and policy environment for co-operatives, strengthened co-operative structures, and promoting co-operatives institutions.


As people-centered businesses, co-operatives are owned and run by their members, who have an equal say in what their organization does and how it generates and uses profits. Co-operatives are a tried-and-tested model in international development, enabling people around the world to take control over their livelihoods. In March 2016, the International Co-operative Alliance entered into a partnership with the European Commission, ushering in a new phase of collaboration on strengthening the co-operative movement as development actors. The ICA-EU partnership on Co-operatives in Development (#Coops4Dev) aims to bring the co-operative model to the next level within international development policies and programs. It is built around activities focused on increasing visibility, enhancing advocacy, sharing capacity building, strengthening co-operative development networking, and supporting all these with evidence from exhaustive research.  The regional and global offices of the ICA are driving the actions, in collaboration with members, civil society organizations, international institutions and the EU. The AP unit of the #Coops4Dev has identified the following three strategic development priorities to implement the project 1. Participation of Co-operatives in Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (SDGs), 2. Inclusion of Youth in Co-operatives 3. Explore Work & Ownership Structures in Co-operatives; and two cross-cutting development priorities namely a. Gender Equality b. Climate Action. 


The Pacific Forum is structured into thematic sessions, group discussions and key speeches. The first session is dedicated to understanding the status of co-operatives in the Pacific in terms of opportunities, issues & challenges, followed by a group session on synthesizing the main needs and challenges for development of co-operatives in the region. This will be followed by a detailed orientation by co-operative leaders from the ICA umbrella in order to share and present a strategic direction for the region in business development and awareness on co-operatives. The space for development cooperation is helmed in many cases by international development agencies and to recognize this important role and potential partnerships, agencies like ILO, UNDP and the PIANGO are provided a  session to highlight successful interventions in support of community owned and managed businesses in the Pacific. The Forum will also dedicate time to discuss the roles of federations and representative bodies (like the ORCBDS) in co-operatives’ response to the SDGs. Four Key development areas identified by ICA’s CoopsFor2030 Campaign (No Poverty, Gender Equality, Access to Basic Goods & Services and Protecting the Environment) will be subject matters for knowledge exchange among participants.


The Pacific Forum aims to mainstream representation of Pacific co-operatives in the ICA’s development process, enhance regional integration among co-operatives, and assist stakeholders in the process of establishing &strengthening co-operative federations to aid local, provincial &national co-operative development& diversification.


The expected outcomes of the Pacific Forum include a.] Ascertain the status of co-operatives in the Pacific Island states, b.] Enhanced Understanding on different types of co-operatives among relevant stakeholders in the Pacific, c.] Increased integration among stakeholders of co-operative development in the Pacific




The Forum will be attended by Ministers, government officials, civil society organizations, international agencies and co-operatives leaders from the MSG and ICA member countries in the region. The schedule of the Forum is designed in a way where all participants can listen, share, discuss and chart the future course of action. 




Please fill the attached registration form and send it to Mr. Ridley Joseph ( and Mr. Santosh Kumar( by June 7, 2018.




ICA will provide for stay of the participants (Check In – 4th July; Check out – 7th July).

Should you need visa to Vanuatu and any transit countries please apply well in advance.

Please contact Mr. Ridley Joseph ( for Visa facilitation letter for obtaining visa to Vanuatu will be issued by the host.  

Kindly copy Mr. Santosh Kumar (  on your emails and feel free to write to us for any information related to your participation in the Forum.

Please click here to know more form the official website of Vanuatu Tourism



Profile of ICA, its AP office, and its members from Fiji, PNG, and Vanuatu


International Cooperative Alliance and the International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Pacific


The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA or the Alliance) is an independent, non-governmental organisation established in 1895 to unite, represent and serve co-operatives worldwide. It provides a global voice and forum for knowledge, expertise and co-ordinated action for and about co-operatives. The Alliance is the guardian of the Co-operative Identity, Values and Principles and to accomplish its mandate, the Alliance operates through its Global Office in Brussels, Belgium and four Regional Offices (Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe), eight Global Sectoral Organisations (Agriculture, Banking, Retail, Fisheries, Health, Housing, Insurance, Industrial, Artisanal & services production), and five Committees and Networks (Gender, Research, Law, Youth, and Communications). The Alliance helps its members develop business relationships and partnerships with members as well as convenes co-operative knowledge, information and guidance through capacity building programmes, technical exchange, and increasing access to co-operatives related information.

The ICA Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) was established in 1960 in New Delhi as the regional office and education centre. The ICA-AP serves 101 organizations from 32 countries in the region, including Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea , New Zealand and Vanuatu




The Nasinu Land Purchase & Housing Co-operative Limited (NLPHC)  is one of the most thriving co-operatives in Fiji. They own 326 acres of land which they develop and sell land in Nadawa/Nasinu areas of Fiji. Members are those who have paid for their share of lots and are entitled to a piece of lot. The members benefit from land at a nominal price while those who have not been allocated land will get a lot in the near future. As per the 2015 data, NLPHC has 446 individual members, 96 member societies and turnover 2015: (deficit) FJD 251,214 (CHF 119,072). As per government data, there are 400 cooperatives currently operating in the following sectors: Consumer marketing, Agricultural, Service Industries, Forest, Fisheries, Land Holdings, Tourism and Thrift and Credit.


Target 100 initiative: “Target 100 is an initiative of the Fijian Government to assist and guide 100 cooperatives around Fiji to be fully compliant with the Cooperatives Act. This means, that the Department of Cooperatives Business will work closely with 100 selected cooperatives in the divisions to ensure that their by-laws and procedures are in line with the requirements set out in the Act. Cooperatives also need to have an Apex body where all the cooperative can be members. This enables the cooperatives to have a combined voice at the national and international levels. According to government sources, the Fijian Government has provided the necessary budget to assist the formation and operationalisation of this Apex Body. (News excerpt, Source)




Office of the Registrar of Cooperatives and Business Development Services (ORCBDS) from Vanuatu is an Associate Member (government) of ICA. The ORCBDS is a government department established to assist with rural economic development,  and includes the department of NI-Vanuata Business. Currently the department dedicates most of its time to cooperative societies because the Cooperative Act mandates ORCBDS to assist and promote business activities for cooperative societies and its members.


Their mission is to facilitate sustainable growth in co-operative business and to advance the interests of Vanuatu citizens both domestically and internationally by:


  • Promoting increased rural savings and investment through co-operative savings and loans societies
  • Encouraging the establishment and diversification of Ni-Vanuatu business
  • Supporting co-operative societies by providing advisory and business appraisal services


 According to coop statistics-2012, there 421 co-operative societies with 14,967 individual members   and their turnover is VUV 926,118,452 (7,434,500).


The European Union enhances its cooperation with the Republic of Vanuatu to enhance sustainable rural development


In April 2018, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development H.E. Neven Mimica and Prime Minister of Vanuatu H.E.  Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas launched a new programme to strengthen sustainable value chains in the country. The Vanuatu Value Chain (VaVaC) Programme aims to promote a strong climate-resilient rural economy that will contribute to national growth and recovery from the aftermath of tropical cyclone Pam. It provides financing of EUR 25 million to strengthen value chains that are most strategic for the country's economy: coconut, beef as well as fruits and vegetables. These areas were selected together with the Government of Vanuatu based on their potential for farm income and employment, provincial development impact, linkages with manufacturing and tourism, as well as suitability to satisfy domestic and international demand. The programme will be carried out in all six provinces of Vanuatu. Commissioner Mimica welcomed the agreement by stating: "This programme is an important milestone in our relationship with Vanuatu. This initiative will support the livelihood of smallholder farmers by improving the safety and quality of key export crops while promoting its climate-resilient production and trade. It is an expression of our common interest in building a strong and climate-resilient rural economy, for a more prosperous and independent Vanuatu." Situated in the South Pacific Ocean, the Republic of Vanuatu was struck by Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015, one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the country. To support its recovery, the European Union assists Vanuatu's rehabilitation efforts in the agricultural sector by contributing to a more sustainable rural development.  The Vanuatu Value Chains programme was designed to fully support the country's rural development and trade sector policies.  It is aligned with Vanuatu's Recovery Plan, which was launched following the destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam, by strengthening the climate-resilience of the rural economy. It was developed in close partnership with the Government of Vanuatu and successfully adopted in January 2018. The VaVaC Programme will be financed under the 11th European Development Fund. (News excerpt, Source)




Office of Co-operative Societies of Papua New Guinea (OCS PNG) (government entity) is an associate member.  The OCS PNG was established by the Government of Papua New Guinea in 2000 to revitalise and facilitate the development of co-operative societies in the country. They are therefore the lead agency providing funds to co-operatives, coordinating trainings, opening up market access, administering the Co-operative Societies Act and registering co-operatives. OCS PNG is headed by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies who reports to the Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry. They are supported by this Minister for administrative matters. Among other MSG nations, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives of Kiribati has approached ICA to become member.  Some twenty years ago, Tonga coop organization was ICA member. Out of MSG countries, these four have cooperative system in place. However, there is need to strengthen and develop the movement to be independent and well-structured from primary to federation level. We also need to reach out to Samoa, Solomon Islands and Micronesia to find out the status of cooperatives and explore possibility of engaging with them to develop cooperatives.


New Zealand’s dairy giant Fonterra has been invited to partner PNG’s agriculture sector 

The invitation was made by the Minister for Trade Commerce and Industry Wera Mori following his three day visit to New Zealand where he met with two of New Zealand’s industry big names, Cooperative Business New Zealand and Fonterra Diaries. (News excerpt, Source)