The Cooperative Movement
The significance of cooperatives have been acknowledged as associations and enterprises through which citizens can effectively improve their lives while contributing to the economic, social, cultural and political advancement of their community and nation. The cooperative movement has been also recognized as a distinct and major stakeholder in both national and international affairs.
The cooperative movement is highly democratic, locally autonomous but internationally integrated, and a form of organization of associations and enterprises whereby citizens themselves rely on self-help and their own responsibility to meet goals that include not only economic but social and environmental objectives, such as overcoming poverty, securing productive employment and encouraging social integration.
In 1992, following a concerted lobbying effort by the cooperative movements in membership of the International Co- operative Alliance (ICA) and members of the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Day of Cooperatives by the UN by resolution 47/90 of 16 December 1992.
The resolution states:
"... The General Assembly, ... Proclaims the first Saturday of July 1995 to be the International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the establishment of the International Cooperative Alliance, and decides to consider the possibility of observing an International Day of Cooperatives in future years; ..."
The date of the celebration of the International Day was chosen to coincide with the already existing International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) International Cooperative Day with has been celebrated since 1923.
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly adopted another resolution 49/155 of 23 December 1994 on cooperatives which not only called on governments and international agencies to:
"consider fully the potential of cooperatives for contributing to the solution of economic, social and environmental problems in formulating national development strategies; and consider reviewing legal and administrative constraints on the activities of cooperatives with a view to eliminating those constraints that are not applied to other businesses and enterprises",
but also invited:
"...governments, relevant international organizations, specialized agencies and national and international cooperative organizations to observe annually the International Day of Cooperatives on the first Saturday of July starting from 1995, as proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/90".
Since that date the global community celebrates United Nations International Day of Cooperatives and ICA's International Cooperative Day on the first Saturday of July. The United Nations Secretary-General issues a message on the occasion of the day as does the International Co-operative Alliance as well as other COPAC members. Celebrations of the Day are held at the international, national and local levels around the world.