Cooperative Principles for the 21st Century: Introduction

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         11 September 1995

          Co-operative Principles for the 21st Century

Table of Contents


*Statement on the Co-operative Identity

*Background Paper

*Declaration Towards the 21st Century

Co-operative Principles for the 21st Century


As the International Co-operative Alliance enters its second
century, its membership has reached over 750 million at
grassroots level and the basic principles which it promotes have
been applied to all aspects of economic and social life on every

The "Co-operative Principles", based on the traditions of a
variety of 19th century pioneers, and last revised by the ICA in
1966, are to be submitted for review at the ICA's Centennial
Congress and General Assembly, in Manchester in September. 

The new proposal, as approved by the ICA Board in April, 1995 is
the culmination of eight years of joint reflection which was
initiated at the XXIX ICA Congress in Stockholm in 1988 by Lars
Marcus, ICA President. An intemediary report prepared by Sven Ake
Book of KF Sweden was presented at the XXX Congress in Tokyo in

The final document, which has been prepared by Dr. Ian MacPherson
of Canada, consists of seven principles: voluntary and open
membership; democratic member control;  member economic
participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and
information; co-operation among co-operatives; and concern for

The new version of the Co-operative Principles is to be contained
within a "Statement on the Co-operative Identity", which also
identifies the basic co-operative values as self-help, democracy,
equality, equity, and solidarity. Co-operators, it says, believe
in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility
and caring for others.

While emphasising the self-help aspect of co-operatives, the new
principles also stress the wider role which co-operatives play in
the community and extend the principle of education to reflect
the importance of information in spreading the co-operative
message more widely.