74th International Co-operative Day Message

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         July, 1996

Source : ICA News 2/1996

               74th International Co-operative Day 
                    (Saturday, 6 July 1996)

       Message from the International Co-operative Alliance

             Co-operatives for Sustainable Development

The potential of co-operative enterprises to contribute to the
alleviation of poverty  through the creation of employment and
to satisfy certain of society's needs more effectively than
either public or private profit-making enterprises have been
widely recognised by the United Nations.

One of the ways in which the UN demonstrated this recognition
was by declaring, in 1995, that the International Day of
Co-operatives should be celebrated every year by Governments
in collaboration with their national co-operative movements.
In 1996, as the International Community celebrates the Year
for the Eradication of Poverty, the UN will again draw the
attention of Governments to the significant contribution of
co-operatives to reducing poverty and to the need to form
partnerships with the Movement. 

Co-operatives have always had an impact in the communities in
which they operate. Working at the grassroots level they help
to bring about sustainable development in the community by
empowering their members. The member movements of the
International Co-operative Alliance also act globally through
their apex organisation and have thus won increased
recognition at the international level for their valuable
contribution to the achievement of the economic, social and
environmental goals of the United Nations.

Concern for Community, a new Co-operative Principle 
reflecting the impact co-operatives have in contributing to
sustainable development within communities, was added to the
guiding principles of the International Co-operative Movement
in the new Statement of the Co-operative Identity adopted at
the Centennial Congress and General Assembly of the
International Co-operative Alliance in September, 1995. 

Some of the Co-operative Principles  have changed little since
the movement began over 150 years ago. The first three
Principles: Voluntary and Open Membership, Democratic Member
Control, and Member Economic Participation are the foundations
on which the modern movement was built. Principle four,
Autonomy and Independence, has been proven as a necessary
ingredient in societies where governments have formerly used
co-operatives to enforce their own development programmes and
economic plans often to the detriment of the co-operative
values of self-help and responsibility. Principle five,
Education, Training and Information, has been acknowledged as
being of primordial importance, not only for the co-operative
members and elected representatives, managers and employees,
but also for society at large, especially  for those who
govern societies, for opinion leaders and for the young people
who will become the co-operators of tomorrow.

Co-operative Solidarity, or as  stated in the sixth Principle
of the Statement of Co-operative Identity,  Co-operation
between Co-operatives, is the potential strength of the
international co-operative movement. It is a principle which
is becoming increasingly important in the face of the
contemporary global economic, social and political trends
which societies everywhere are facing. 

The International Co-operative Alliance calls upon its more
than 760,000,000 members at grassroots level,  and also upon
co-operative enterprises and organisations at local, regional
and national level, to consider not only how to improve their
own situation, but also to devote significant energy to
promoting new co-operative enterprises in their own and
related fields. 

The ICA moreover calls upon its member organisations and
specialised organisations in the fields of agriculture, 
banking, consumer co-operation, energy, fisheries, health,
housing, insurance, trade, tourism and industrial and
artisanal production, as well as its committees working in the
fields of communications, human resource development,
co-operative research and the promotion of  equal
opportunities for women in co-operatives, to work together to
build a strong, united movement which can help make tomorrow's
world a better place for future generations.