ICA International Co-op Day Message (1996)

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

     (Source: Review of International Co-operation,
     Vol.89, No.2/1996, p.84-85)

               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 celebrated 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
}re 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.