The United Nations has proclaimed the first Saturday of July as the International Day of Cooperatives in recognition of the indispensable role cooperatives play in economic and social development.
"Cooperatives for Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All"
Theme of the 10th UN International Day of Cooperatives, 3 July 2004
The aim of the International Day of Cooperatives is to increase awareness on cooperatives, highlight the complementarity of the goals and objectives of the United Nations and the international co-operative movement and, underscore the contribution of the movement to the resolution of the major problems addressed by the United Nations. The International Day also aims to strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors, including governments, at local, national and international levels.
On this day, in 1895, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was formed, and since 1927 the ICA has observed the first Saturday of July as International Cooperative Day. The ICA is an umbrella group of organisations encompassing 760 million members of cooperatives in 100 countries.
- Cooperative can strengthen dialogue and governance
The potential for a more participatory and democratic system of global governance lies today more in the future evolution of expanding networks of people and institutions, rather than in blueprints for world government or institutional re-engineering.
- Cooperatives can strengthen economic capabilities
Partnerships between governments and private actors – business, trade unions, community organizations, cooperatives and others – are an effective means to develop the skills, infrastructure, technological and managerial capabilities, and frameworks that provide an enabling environment for private investment (both domestic and foreign) in the most dynamic productive activities. This is not about "picking winners", but establishing the preconditions for the growth of globally competitive enterprises.
- Cooperatives play an important role at the local economic base
A variety of forms of economic organization can be both economically and socially efficient in the local environment. Cooperatives are an obvious example. They are a global force, with 800 million members worldwide, yet at the same time major local actors with a capacity which is built on trust and accountability. Their contribution needs to be recognized and strengthened.
- Cooperatives promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Voluntary initiatives such as the Global Compact can help to build public trust and confidence in enterprises and contribute to the sustainability of their business…. Developing more broad-based industry level partnerships… These can engage enterprises, employers’ organizations, unions, cooperatives, governments, and CSOs, in programmes which combine promotional policies with monitoring and certification.
In an age where community involvement and partnerships with civil society are increasingly being recognized as indispensable, there is clearly a growing potential for cooperative development and renewal worldwide.
- Kofi Anan, UN Secretary General