The International Day of Cooperatives is an international celebration of the cooperative movement and has taken place since 1923 on the first Saturday of July. The United Nations International Cooperative Day is a regional observance and not a public holiday. On December 16, 1992, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed in resolution 47/90 “the first Saturday of July 1995 to be International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the establishment of the International Cooperative Alliance.” The International Day of Co-operatives of the United Nations has been officially celebrated alongside International Co-operative Day since 1995. The aim of this celebration is to extend awareness of cooperatives. The event underscores the contributions of the cooperative movement to resolving the key problems addressed by the international organization and to strengthening and increasing the partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors. a number of the day’s goals are to extend awareness on cooperatives, likewise as strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other supporting organizations including governments. International Day is also aimed at enhancing and expanding relationships at local, national, and international levels between the international cooperative movement and other stakeholders including governments.
Cooperatives around the world celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives in some ways. Activities include: messages from the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and therefore the UN translated into local languages for worldwide distribution; news articles and radio programs publicizing the attention of the day; fairs, exhibits, contests, and campaigns focused on the topics associated with the day; meetings with governance, UN agencies and other partner organizations; economic, environmental, social and health challenges (such as tree planting); and sponsored cultural events like theatres and concerts. The open participation model of co-operatives provides access to wealth creation and the reduction of poverty. It comes from the cooperative theory of economic participation of members: ‘Members contribute equitably to the resources of their cooperative, and collectively control it.’ Because cooperatives are people-centered, not capital-centered, they do not sustain, nor increase the accumulation of capital, and they share resources in a fairer way. The theme of the International Cooperative Day is decided each year by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), of which the ILO is a member and current chair (since March 2017). The cooperative movement is extremely democratic, locally autonomous, but internationally integrated, and a kind of organization of associations and enterprises whereby citizens themselves depend on self-help and their own responsibility to satisfy goals that include not only economic but also social and environmental objectives, like overcoming poverty, securing productive employment and inspiring social integration.