International Day of Cooperatives is an annual United Nations observance held on the first Saturday of July. It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to raise public awareness on cooperatives.
A cooperative is an autonomous association of people who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual benefit. The first international association formed by the cooperative movement was the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). It was founded in London in August 1895. As of March 2015, the Alliance represents 283 member organizations across 94 countries.
The United Nations General Assembly created the International Day of Cooperatives to increase awareness on the international cooperative movement and its contribution to the resolution of the major problems of sustainable development. Cooperatives make significant contributions to the economic, political, social and cultural advancement of individual communities and entire nations.
The date of International Day of Cooperatives was selected to coincide with International Cooperative Day that has been celebrated by the ICA since 1923. It was first held in 1995 and has been celebrated each year ever since at the international, national and local levels.
Celebrating our successes and ideals
The International Co-operative Day / International Day of Co-operatives is celebrated on the first Saturday of July every year. Its aim is to increase awareness on co-operatives and promote promote the movement’s successes and ideals of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace. The International Day also aims to to strengthen and extend partnerships between the international co-operative movement and other actors, including governments, at local, national and international levels.
- The 2016 International Day of Co-operatives celebration web page is up. Visit here!
- We are proud to reveal the 2016 theme of the International Day of Co-operatives! To be celebrated on the 2nd of July 2016, this year’s theme is ‘Co-operatives: The power to act for a sustainable future’.
This theme is a nod of support to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as it is at this time that governments, international bodies and civil society are exploring how to best implement the 2030 Agenda. On the 2016 Day let us speak out loud, on the value of co-operatives’ unique approach to sustainable economic, social and environmental development.
Join our mailing list to be the first to receive updates in your mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org – or check back for the logo and images to use, powerpoint slides and more to celebrate the Day in your co-operative!
- Let the Alliance know how your co-operative celebrates the International Day of Co-operatives! Send a note to email@example.com with a short report, pictures or videos made at your celebration of the International Day of Co-operatives.
- And be sure to add your event to the Alliance’s events calendar!
The International Day: background
- 2014: “Co-operative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all.
- 2013: “Co-operative enterprise remains strong in time of crisis”
- 2012: “Co-operative enterprises build a better world”
- 2011: “Youth, the future of co-operative enterprise”
- 2010: “Co-operative Enterprise empowers women”
- 2009: “Driving Recovery through Co-operative Enteprise”
- 2008: “Confronting Climate Change through Co-operative Enterprise”
- 2007: “Co-operative Values and Principles for Corporate Social responsibility.”
- 2006: “Peace-building through Co-operatives.”
- 2005: “Microfinance is OUR business! Cooperating out of poverty”
- 2004: “Co-operatives for Fair Globalisation: Creating Opportunities for All”
- 2003: “Co-operatives Make Development Happen!: The contribution of co-operatives to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals”
- 2002: “Society and Co-operatives: Concern for Community”
- 2001: “The Co-operative Advantage in the Third Millennium”
- 2000: “Co-operatives and Employment Promotion”
How to celebrate International Day?
- The messages of the ICA and United Nations are translated into local languages and widely disseminated to co-operators, media, government officials at all level.
- Use newspapers and radio programmes to create awareness! Issue a press release on the occasion of the International Day of Co-operatives. For example, in 2014 the US Overseas Co-operative Development Council has released its Press Release for the Day (which can be read here). It covers the projects it oversees in terms of co-operatives encouraging sustainable development throughout the world. In the US, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association sent a customizable press release to its member food co-ops. Their member, the Monadnock Food Co-op used the template to publish its own release – click here to read it.
- Co-operative Fairs, exhibits, contests, and campaigns are held.
- Meetings with government officials, United Nations agencies and other partner organisations are held.
- Co-operatives partner with community agencies to champion economic, environmental, social and health challenges (blood drives, tree planting, etc.)
- Cultural events are sponsored – theatre, concerts, etc.