Global movement celebrates UN International Day of Co-operatives

This year’s theme is ‘Cooperative build a better future for all’

Co-ops worldwide are celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives this 6 July. An annual celebration of co-operatives, the day has been observed on the first Saturday in July since 1923. In 1995 the United Nations adopted a resolution for the first Saturday of July to be International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). Since then the United Nations‘ International Day of Cooperatives has been observed jointly alongside International Cooperative Day.

Themed, Cooperatives build a better future for all in 2024, the day provides co-ops worldwide an opportunity to showcase their current and past contributions to building a sustainable future.

This year’s celebration will also set the scene for the 2025 International Year of Cooperatives, which will kick off at the ICA Global Conference in New Delhi, India (25-30 November).

Related: Registration opens for ICA Global Conference and General Assembly

To start the celebrations for the 2025 UN International Year of Cooperatives, the UN Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, will host a soft-launch event for the 2025 IYC. The event will take place during the UN High-Level Political Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York on 9 July, from 10H to 13H (EST).

“Co-operatives generate decent work, practice gender equality and provide strong opportunities for youth,” said ICA president Ariel Guarco in a video message ahead of the International Day. “We innovate and connect users, producers and consumers, in a responsible, supportive and inclusive manner. We manage resources in a transparent and democratic way, putting communities in control of their capital. We take care of ecosystems because of the environment and people. They are at the centre of our socio-business model. We promote positive peace because the co-operative economy is synonymous with harmonious relations between people. For all this and much more, co-operatives build a world better for all people.

“This 6 July, let’s take advantage of our Day to boost this global recognition in different countries on all continents. For the journey to 2025, proposed by the United Nations as the International Year of Cooperatives, let us take the call of the UN to the states to support our model, as we continue to build a sustainable world in social, economic and environmental matters. Together with the more than one billion members of three million co-operatives on all continents, let’s show how we are transforming the societies we live in, day by day,” he added.

The day is also marked at the International Labour Organization, whose director general, Gilbert F. Houngbo highlighted the importance of this year’s celebration.

“This year’s theme is Cooperative build a better future for all. And what better than to remind us of the essential role of co-operatives in sustainable development and social justice worldwide?” he said in a video message. “The International Cooperative Alliance has been a vital partner for the ILO since our inception. Over the years, we have strengthened our co-operation in advancing decent work in social justice. Our partnership is even more crucial now as we approach 2025 when we will mark the second United Nations International Year of Cooperatives and the Second World Summit for Social Development.”

Todor Ivanov, the secretary general of Euro Coop, the European Community of Consumer Co-operatives thinks “there is no greater distinction than that of the United Nations”. 

“The 2023 UN Secretary-General Report dedicated to Cooperatives in Social Development rightfully acknowledges co-operatives as vehicles for socio-economic development, especially with regard to marginalised groups in our society. Our members combat climate change and foster social cohesion. As such, we welcome the UN’s appeal towards national governments to show support for cooperatives through an enabling regulatory and policy environment, which will surely allow us to amplify our social, economic, and environmental contributions,” he added.

Ivanov said this year’s theme “resonates deeply” with Euro Coop’s mission and the collective efforts of its members. “We are honoured to be part of this celebration, marking the 30th International Day of Cooperatives recognised by the United Nations and the 102nd International Cooperative Day,” he said.

Cooperatives Europe, the voice of co-operative enterprises in Europe, is also celebrating the day while reflecting on the significance of the recent European elections.

“The co-operative movement has long been a beacon of resilience, putting people at the centre of its operations and promoting a sense of community and shared responsibility,” the Cooperatives Europe board said in a statement. 

The apex pointed out that “co-operatives embody the spirit of co-operation and solidarity, even in the face of various intertwined challenges.”

“On this International Cooperative Day, we want to reflect on the achievements of these co-operatives across Europe. Their unwavering commitment to co-operative values and principles serves as an inspiration to all.

“This year’s International Day of Cooperatives is special as it also marks a significant political shift in Europe with the recent European elections. Therefore, Cooperatives Europe and its members are preparing to work with the new Parliament and Commission. The co-operative movement stands ready to engage with the various layers of policymaking and with the newly elected leaders and officials. Our goal will be to ensure that the values of co-operation and solidarity are at the forefront of the European agenda.

“This day is a global celebration that unites co-operators from all countries and sectors, from all walks of life. United in diversity, our collaboration and co-operation have shaped who we are today; this is our strength, this is part of our identity, and this is how we will shape our collective future. Let us use this day to renew our commitment to cooperative principles and ideals. Only by embracing them, we will be able to build a better and more co-operative world.

“We eagerly anticipate working together with all of you this year as we prepare for the UN International Year of Cooperatives 2025,” read the statement.

Co-ops wishing to join in the celebration can use the ICA’s logos and posters along with the hashtag #CoopsDay when posting on social media.

Find out more about the day at