1. It is recognized that cooperatives operate in all sectors of the economy. This Recommendation applies to all types and forms of cooperatives.
2. For the purposes of this Recommendation, the term “cooperative” means an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
3. The promotion and strengthening of the identity of cooperatives should be encouraged on the basis of:
(a) cooperative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity; as well as ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others; and
(b) cooperative principles as developed by the international cooperative movement and as referred to in the Annex hereto. These principles are: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.
4. Measures should be adopted to promote the potential of cooperatives in all countries, irrespective of their level of development, in order to assist them and their membership to:
(a) create and develop income-generating activities and sustainable decent employment;
(b) develop human resource capacities and knowledge of the values, advantages and benefits of the cooperative movement through education and training;
(c) develop their business potential, including entrepreneurial and managerial capacities;
(d) strengthen their competitiveness as well as gain access to markets and to institutional finance;
(e) increase savings and investment;
(f) improve social and economic well-being, taking into account the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination;
(g) contribute to sustainable human development; and
(h) establish and expand a viable and dynamic distinctive sector of the economy, which includes cooperatives, that responds to the social and economic needs of the community.
5. The adoption of special measures should be encouraged to enable cooperatives, as enterprises and organizations inspired by solidarity, to respond to their members’ needs and the needs of society, including those of disadvantaged groups in order to achieve their social inclusion.
via Recommendation R193 – Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No. 193).