Who we are
The International Cooperative Alliance
Founded in 1895, the International Cooperative Alliance is an independent, non-governmental organization which unites, represents and serves co-operatives worldwide. It is the largest non-governmental organization in the world.
The Alliance members are national and international cooperative organizations which operate in all sectors of the economy including agriculture, banking, fisheries, health, housing, industry, insurance, tourism and consumer cooperatives. Currently, the Alliance has 310 member organizations from 107 countries, representing nearly 1,000 million individuals worldwide.
The Alliance has four Regional Offices: America, Europe, Africa and Asia. They operate within the Alliance Worldwide administrative structure, to support the work of the Secretariat in Brussels and as a connecting tool between cooperatives in the different continents and the worldwide network.
Regional Offices facilitate the participation of the co-operatives of each region in the specialized networks, allowing them to become involved with the sectors of their interest. In addition they are responsible for implementing the decisions taken by the corresponding regional political organs and for operating development projects.
They all have a Regional Director and professional qualified staff. There are some Project or Business Offices which operate at national or sub-regional level, as well.
Co-operatives of the Americas
The Regional Office of the Americas was established in 1990 in San José, Costa Rica. Its main objective is "to make the case for the co-operative model within the new economical, political, social and commercial order supporting the member organizations of Co-operatives of the Americas in the promotion and defense of the co-operative identity, the promotion of business and the development of human resources".
The Regional Office is the connection between the cooperatives of the American Continent and the worldwide network. This gives every cooperative the opportunity to participate in specialized areas so that they get involved with the sector of their interest. In addition, it is responsible for implementing the decisions taken by the regional political organs of Co-operatives of the Americas and putting in operation the development projects.