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(L-R) Jessica Soto (We Effect, The Philippines), Mohd.Abdul Farzan Razzak (ILO, Sri Lanka), Sylvia Paraguya (NATCCO, The Philippines) and Anthony Taylor (BCCM, Australia) during the Panel on Improving Access to Basic Goods and Services


The Asia-Pacific Co-operative Development Conference (APCDC) was organized on the theme Building Multi- Stakeholder Partnerships on Sustainable Development at Hotel Galadari, Colombo (Sri Lanka) from 27-28 Feb 2018. It was co-organized by the International Co-operative Alliance - Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP), ICA-EU Partnership on Co-operatives in Development: People Centered Businesses in Action (#coops4dev) and the Sri Lankan co-operative movement led by the National Co-operative Council, Consumer Co-operative Federation, SANASA Federation, Kotikawatta Thrift & Credit Co-operative and National Institute of Co-operative Development. The Conference was a strategic dialogue among stakeholders on development policy, which was aimed to create structured exchange and development partnerships among co-operatives and stakeholders in the pursuit of Sustainable Development. It featured four thematic sessions on Eradicating Poverty: Opportunity, Protection and Empowerment; Building a more Sustainable Food System: Hunger, Food Security and Livelihoods; Improving Access to Basic Goods & Services: Economic, Social and Cultural aspects; Protecting the Environment: Concern for Community along with working sessions on the three Asia Pacific Strategic Development Priorities namely, Sustainable Development Goals; Youth Inclusion and Exploring ‘Work’ and ‘Ownership’ Structures in Co-operatives.


During the opening ceremony welcome addresses were delivered by Mr. Balu Iyer, Regional Director, ICA-AP, Mr. Lalith Peiris, Chairman, NCCSL, and Dr. Chandrapal Singh Yadav, Vice Chairman, ICA-AP Board. Mr. Milinda Rajapaksa, Member, Colombo Municipal Council, Sri Lanka, Ms. Shainujaa Inpanathan, Member (Batticaloa), Sri Lanka Youth Parliament, and Hon. Mr. Daniar Imanaliev, Vice Minister of Economy, Kyrgyz Republic spoke at the ceremony as well.  The opening address was delivered by Hon. Mr. Abdul Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka.


The Panels saw presentations from the ICA-AP membership, international agencies like the ILO, Agriterra, We Effect, AFA, and government bodies like the Central Environment Authority and Department of Co-operatives of Sri Lanka.  We were also fortunate to have Mr. S.L. Naseer, the Commissioner of Co-operative Development and Registrar of Co-operative societies, Sri Lanka, as a speaker on the Panel on Increasing Access to Basic Goods and Services. The round-table sessions took place on both days and followed the format of a few strategic presentations followed by a group discussion  on the emerging themes. The participants were easily able to make meaningful connections between the three strategic priorities and each of the themes of the Panel discussions. This event also saw the unveiling of Coop Radio, a unique initiative of the Sri Lanka co-operative movement, as well as the launching of the website of the newly formed Japanese Co-operative Alliance. The English version of the website as well as the goals of JCA were presented by Mr. Osamu Nakano, Board Member of the Japan Worker’s Co-operative Union (JWCU).




The two-day Conference closed with a concluding summary of the proceedings delivered by Mr. Balu Iyer, and was followed by an inspirational address given by Ms. Malkanthi Ekanayaka, Additional Secretary (Co-operatives), Ministry of Industry, Sri Lanka.


The presentations and photographs from the Conference will soon be made available on our website


II. First Meeting of the Asia Pacific Multi-Stakeholders’ Council


The Hanoi Declaration of the 10th Asia Pacific Co-operative Ministers’ Conference (APCMC) on Multi-Stakeholder Partnership in Realizing the SDGs that was held in April 2017, was officially launched on the 95th International Day of Co-operatives in July 2017. Part C. of the Declaration mandated the ICA-AP to form a Stakeholders’ Council with sub regional representatives from Co-operatives, governments and international development agencies, to monitor and review the progress made by the stakeholders in implementing the action items of the Declaration, until the next APCMC scheduled in 2021. The Asia Pacific Co-operative Development Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka 2018, witnessed the first meeting of the council constituted by the ICA-AP Regional Director on February 28, 2018 at the Executive Lounge of Hotel Galadari, and was attended by representatives from Australia, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Palestine, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, ACCU and the UAE, in their capacities as members and observers.


Participants at the Stakeholder’s Council meeting


The main points of discussions were the nature and role of the council, recognition for co-operatives in the Voluntary National Reviews for the SDGs, advocacy for the co-operative model in regional groupings like ASEAN, GCC, SAARC and MSG countries. The council is being coordinated by Drs. Robby Tulus, Former RD, ICA-AP (1996-2002).


III. Informal Stakeholders Meeting on Worker Co-operative Network during the #APCDC2018, Colombo


Representational image. Photograph credit: Creative Commons


Taking forward the ICA-AP and CICOPA initiative to create a regional network of worker co-operatives , stakeholders representing labour, industrial and service co-operatives met for the first time on the side lines of the Asia Pacific Co-operative Development meeting on 28th February 2018. The meeting was attended by representatives of Union of Labour Service Co-operatives (The Philippines), Uralungul Labour Contract Co-operative Society (India), Japanese Worker Co-operative Union, BCCM (Australia), Mr. Hyungsik Eum (CICOPA) and Mr. Balu Iyer (ICA-AP). The main discussion points were to identify the need, scope of work and the potential for the worker co-operative network in the region. The meeting also discussed the upcoming Asia Pacific thematic research on ‘Work and Ownership’ that is being planned in collaboration with CICOPA, under the ICA-EU Partnership on Co-operatives in Development and the upcoming Multi-Stakeholder conference on the Changing World of Work in Kerala in April 2018 (


IV. ILO Officers Participate at the #APCD2018




The International Labour Organization was represented at the Asia Pacific Co-operative Development Conference by its officers from the Sri Lanka country office and Palestine. Read a piece published by the ILO here