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The Palestinian national co-operative sector strategy was launched by Prime Minister, Mr. Rami Hamdallah in February. The national strategy was led by the General Directorate of Co-operatives (GDC) and was supported by the ILO and key national stakeholders. Mr. Hamdallah recognized the role of co-operatives in providing livelihoods to people and communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). He highlighted the need for improved regulatory environment to strengthen the co-operative movement. The PM also called upon co-operatives to be an “enterprise model that promotes democratic values and that reaches out to the youth and women”. The national strategy is built around three main pillars -  1) promotion of the institutional environment to enable co-operatives to grow and develop, 2) improvement of financial and organizational performance of co-operatives and 3) expansion of co-operatives into new and emerging sectors such as the recycling, renewable energy etc.


The strategy also highlights the need to invest in co-operative education and literacy among youth and explore the potential of technology. The OPT’s co-operative history dates back almost a century when a tobacco co-operative marked the beginning of the national movement. In 2016, there were 957 registered co-operatives, including 785 in West Bank with 46,000 members and 172 co-operatives in the Gaza Strip. The main areas of co-operative business in Palestine are agriculture, housing, services, handicrafts and consumer stores. ICA member, The Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine came out with a strategic objectives document based on the launch of the national strategy, with a vision to ensure a socially just Palestinian society in which individuals are economically independent and the mission to enable disadvantaged and vulnerable groups to engage in competitive economic activities.