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How to become an ICA member

From 2009 a new membership system was launched intended to make it posible for more organizations to be able to apply and become members of the Internacional Cooperative Alliance.

ICA membership is open to all the organizations which adhere to the ICA declaration on Cooperative Identity and pursue ICA’s objetives.

Through ICA, the organization is identified as a leader of the cooperative movement, and in this way, it may broaden its possibilities and develop new contacts and resources. Cooperatives join ICA to be part of an organization whose main purpose is to represent and defend the interests of the cooperative movement at national and international level. As an ICA member, through joint actions we will be able to find practical solutions to day-to-day challenges.

ICA strives to promote the interchange of ideas, by means of international events, seminars, workshops and regional conferences which provide better opportunities for negotiation and education.

Organizations can apply under two different membership categories: Full Member (with voting rights) or Associate Member.

The following organizations can apply to be Full Members.
- National unions or federations of cooperative organizations.
- National confederations of cooperative organizations (apex organizations).
- Nacional cooperative business organizations with majority individual ownership.
- Individual cooperative organizations (primary or grassroot cooperatives).

The following organizations can apply to be Associate Members.
- organizations which are owned and controlled by cooperatives.
- educational, research and other institutions which promote or finance cooperatives and the cooperative movement.
- international and regional (supranational) federations or unions of cooperatives.
- organization entitled to full membership, but that it is not ready to apply for full membership. [1]

The annual membership is calculated based on a suscription formula which is specific for Full members and another one for Associate Members. The organizations apply for a full membership on the basis of the number of individual members of the cooperatives that they represent. ICA calculates Associate Members suscriptions based on a series of flat rates.

Benefits and rights for ICA member organizations

As an ICA member, the organization will benefit from ICA work in terms of:
- Defense and promotion of cooperative values and principles; it includes representing the cooperative movement before national governments, if asked by ICA members.
- Representation of the cooperative enterprise and the interests of the ICA members in multilateral organizations, including the United Nations and its agencies as well as other global and regional institutions.
- Definition and promotion of the cooperative difference
- Promotion and coordination of technical assistance for cooperative development
- Organization of conferences and seminars to interchange information and experiences as well as providing opportunities for contact among cooperatives
- Access to cooperative information

Besides, the organizations is entitled to:
- Contribute to the governance of the international cooperative movement.
- Take part in formulating ICA policies and work programs of ICA
- Appoint and be appointed for a direction position in ICA at global or regional level
- Participate in any Sectoral Organization or Thematic Committee of ICA
- Take part in the meetings organized by ICA, including Regional and General Assemblies
- Benefit from development support which ICA provides to its member organizations
- Develop business relationships and partnerships with other ICA member organizations
- Access to technical assistance in the revision of cooperative legislation
- Be represented and defended by ICA in case of conflict or dispute with the countries public authorities or with international institutions.

Membership Procedure

Candidates for membership must fill in a “Membership Application Form” and provide ICA with the following documents/information:
- Rules of the Organization
- Annual Report
- List of member societies / affiliates

Please send the completed form and supporting documents to ICA Americas Regional Office’s Membership Department, to “Apartado Postal 6648-1000 San José, Costa Rica” or to “De la Iglesia Virgen de Loreto. Rohrmoser. 300 metros norte, 100 metros oeste. Edificio de 3 niveles, lado izquierdo. Contiguo al parque, San José, Costa Rica”.

Once the application is completed, ICA-Americas submits the application to the ICA Central Offices to be included in the following ICA Administration Board Meeting.

[1Organizations may be accepted as Associate Members during a three years period, which can be analyzed and extended to five years maximum in order to enable them to participate in ICA; mainly at sectoral and regional levels, before applying for full membership.

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