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EghtesadOnline: More than 200 new cooperatives were registered during the Iranian month ending Dec. 21, which shows a 48% decline compared with the corresponding period of last year.

These newly-founded cooperatives had 3,119 members and created jobs for 2,474 people to register a 50% and 67% decline respectively year-on-year, the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare's latest report shows.

A cooperative is a jointly owned enterprise engaged in the production or distribution of goods or supply of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit, typically organized by consumers or farmers. Cooperative businesses are typically more economically resilient than many other forms of enterprise, as twice the number of cooperatives survive their first five years compared with other business ownership models. 

They frequently pursue social goals accomplished by investing a proportion of trading profits back into their communities, according to Financial Tribune.

Khorasan Razavi, with 29 units, topped the list of provinces in which the largest number of cooperatives was registered over the one-month period under review. Following the northeastern province were the Fars and Hormozgan provinces with 25 and 17 newly-registered cooperatives respectively.

South Khorasan, North Khorasan and Kurdestan were placed at the bottom of the list with only 1 cooperative each.

Most of these new entities were engaged in the fields of agriculture (59) and industries (41).

The newly-founded cooperatives in the fields of agriculture and building construction were the biggest in terms of members, as they created the largest number of jobs.

The parliament has tasked the government with increasing the share of cooperatives in gross domestic product to 25% by the end of the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2022).

"The current share in GDP is around 7%," according to the head of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives, Bahman Abdollahi. 

Development plans are devised by the government and ratified by parliament every five years since 1991. These are meant to provide broad directions for a wide range of economic reforms and social priorities.

According to Deputy Cooperatives Minister Hamid Kalantari, 74 trillion rials ($685 million) were paid in loans to cooperatives last year (March 2017-18) to support their activities.



Int'l Cooperative Alliance Confab in Tehran

The 13th International Conference of ICA Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly was held in Tehran in November. 

The five-day event was attended by a host of top Iranian officials, including Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Mohammad Shariatmadari and the head of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives, Bahman Abdollahi, among others.

Some 170 dignitaries from 25 countries, including China, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Argentina, Belgium, Kenya, Nigeria, Jordan, Palestine, Malaysia, Turkey, Italy, Canada, France and Poland also participated, Fars News Agency reported. 

The theme for this year’s assembly was “Cooperatives Help Economies Become More Resilient and Sustainable”, the International Cooperatives Alliance newsroom reported. 

The objectives was to introduce the contribution of cooperatives in helping economies become more resilient and sustainable, review progress and gaps in performance to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, survey the creation of an ecosystem with focus on cooperation among cooperatives in the region and build consensus for joint action, and promote innovation for stability and growth.

The biennial Regional Assembly, represented by all members directly, is the highest authority of the ICA-Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP). The Regional Assembly is a central policymaking and representative body that brings together all members and provides them a platform to discuss multiple issues concerning development and growth of cooperatives as well as the opportunity to network and form bilateral and multilateral alliances for mutual benefit.  

The ICA-AP Regional Assembly plays a vital role in strengthening the democratic governance process of cooperatives by building consensus on issues and approves the agenda after discussion to the satisfaction of all members.

Since the year 2000, the Cooperative Forum has been held in conjunction with the regional assembly to take advantage of the presence of a large number of ICA-AP members. The forum brings together stakeholders to assess progress, discuss challenges and arrive at decisions to strengthen cooperative enterprises as models of sustainable development.


Iran Cooperatives Formation