The ILO views cooperatives as important in improving the living and working conditions of women and men globally as well as making essential infrastructure and services available. Moreover, cooperatives have the potential to advance the concept of decent work.

The ILO technical assistance programme for cooperative development focuses on policy and legal advice, and capacity-building through human resource development. ILO Recommendation No. 193, (2002) on the promotion of cooperatives is designed to form the conceptual basis for ILO's technical work in the field.

ICA President, Ivano Barberini and ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia, sign the ICA-ILO Memorandum of Understanding.
The International Co-operative Alliance and the ILO signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 10 February 2004 to strengthen further the existing partnership with the ILO through implementing a "Common Cooperative Agenda".

Given the important role that cooperatives play in the Caribbean, the ILO continues to support its development through several technical assistance and training activities. From 2004-2006, for example, the ILO provided technical advice, training and support for the drawing up of a national policy on cooperatives in Trinidad and Tobago.

In 2000, the ILO in collaboration with the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU) hosted the first regional conference of Ministers of Cooperatives.