Co-operative Day Message 1995

73rd International Co-operative Day (Saturday, 1 July 1995)

  Message from the International Co-operative Alliance

The ICA Centennial and the Next 100 Years of International

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 continent.

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, 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 community.

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.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared the first Saturday of
July, starting in 1995, as the United Nations International Day of
Co-operatives, coinciding with and reinforcing the ICA's own International
Co-operative Day, which was first celebrated in 1927.

The United Nations thus recognises the contribution of co-operatives to
economic and social development as an indispensable factor in promoting the
fullest possible participation in the development process of all population
groups, including women, youth, disabled persons and the elderly.

In his report to the General Assembly, in July 1994, the UN
Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, stated that "co-operative
enterprises provide the organisational means whereby a significant
proportion of humanity is able to  take into its own hands the tasks of
creating productive employment, overcoming poverty and achieving social

The UN encourages Governments to consider fully the potential of
co-operatives for contributing to the solution of economic, social and
environmental problems in formulating national development strategies for
sustainable development.

In this Centennial Year, the International Co-operative Alliance calls on
its members to work with their Governments and with United Nations
Information Centres worldwide  to  celebrate the UN International Day of
Co-operatives, and to promote the Principles of Co-operation in their
members' magazines and other publications.

The ICA also encourages its members to inform Governments about the work
and potential of co-operatives and to develop  information programmes which
make use of new communications technology, thereby targeting young people
who will be the opinion leaders and decision makers in the next 100 years
of international co-operation.

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