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What is the International Co-operative Alliance?

The International Cooperative Alliance is an independent non-governmental organization which unites represents and serves co-operative organizations in the world.

The Alliance was founded in London in 1895. The Alliance members are national and international cooperative organizations in all sectors of activity including agriculture, banking, credit and saving, industry, insurance, fishing, social housing, health, public services, consumer services and tourism.

There are 310 member organizations from 107 countries that represent nearly 1,000 million individuals worldwide.

In 1946 the Alliance was the first non-governmental organization to be accorded consultative stuatus with the United Nations. Nowadays it is one of the 41 organizations which appear in Category I on the list of organizations which enjoy consultative statute before the Economy and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

The main objective of the Alliance is to promote and to strengthen independent co-operatives all over the world. By means of international, regional and national activities. The Alliance also tries:

- to encourage and defend the values and principles of the co-operative movement;
- to stimulate mutually beneficial relations between its member organizations;
- to favor the economy and social progress of people, thus contributing to security and international peace.

Other objectives of the Alliance are:

- To promote a worldwide cooperative movement based on mutual self-help and democracy.
- To promote and defend co-operative values and principles.
- To facilitate the development of economic relations and other mutual benefits among its member organizations..
- To promote human sustained development and to encourage the economic and social progress of the individual.
- To promote gender equity in all the activities within the cooperative movement and in decision making processes.

Therefore:

- The Alliance raises awareness about co-operatives. It helps individuals, government authorities and regional and international institutions understand the co-operative model of enterprise. The Alliance is the voice of the co-operative movement.
- The Alliance ensures that the right policy environment exists to enable co-operatives to grow and prosper. It helps its members in their lobbying for new legislation and more appropriate administrative procedures that respect the co-operative model, its principles and values. It provides political support as well as technical expertise to enable co-operatives to compete on a level playing field.
- The Alliance provides its members with key information, best practice and contacts. Through its publications it ensures the sharing of information. It organizes meetings and workshops to address key issues affecting co-operatives and allows discussion among co-operators from around the world. The Alliance facilitates contacts between co-operatives for trading purposes and intelligence sharing in a wide range of areas.
- The Alliance provides technical assistance to co-operatives through its development program. The Alliance promotes capacity-building and financial support, it facilitates job creation and supports poverty reduction and microfinance programs around the world.

The Alliance has four regional offices in: America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Its Headquarter is in Brussels, Belgium.

Know more about the Alliance at http://www.ica.coop

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