The official logo for the International Year of Co-operatives in 2012 has been released by the United Nations.
Based on the slogan of the year, 'Cooperative enterprises build a better world', the logo is published in six languages and the UN said it conveys the message that co-operatives are "autonomous associations of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations, through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise".
According to the UN's design department, based in New York, the cube represents the various projects, goals and aspirations upon which co-operative enterprises are built, and the achievements that can be attained.
The cube, which is being lifted and supported by seven people, mirrors the seven principles of the co-operative movement; voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training, and information, co-operation among co-operatives, and concern for community. Said the UN: "These seven principles work together to allow co-operative members to achieve the goals and desires that they would not have been able to attain through their individual efforts."
The International Year of Co-operatives, which will be officially launched at the United Nations in New York in October, aims to increase public awareness of co-operatives and how they benefit their members.
The year will be planned by the UN in close collaboration with the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives, which includes the International Co-operative Alliance, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Labour Organization.
At the ICA's Beijing board meeting in September it agreed the one focus of the year should be to raise public awareness and visibility of co-operatives. A campaign to sum up the benefit of co-operatives with a simple message is also set to be launched by the ICA in the coming months.
To download the logo along with guidelines for its use, visit: http://social.un.org/coopsyear/iyclogo.shtml