International Day of Cooperatives 2023: It’s History and Significance.


28 September 2023 at 16:09

Compiled by

MUDI Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Ltd.

What is a Co-operative?

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united and voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.

History of International Day of Cooperatives

The history of the International Day of Cooperatives dates back to the early 20th century when the cooperative movement gained momentum on a global scale. In 1923, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), an international umbrella organization representing cooperative enterprises, established the first International Cooperative Day.

Initially celebrated on the first Saturday of July each year, the day aimed to commemorate the values and principles of cooperation. Over time, the event evolved and was renamed as the International Day of Cooperatives. Since 1995, it has been observed annually on July 1st.


The designated theme for the International Day of Cooperatives 2023 is “Cooperatives for Sustainable Development”. Under this theme, Gilbert F. Houngbo, the Director of the International Labour Organisation, encourages us to acknowledge the crucial role that cooperatives play in attaining sustainable development goals. It serves as a call to action, urging us to utilize the strength of collaboration to tackle urgent global challenges.


The International Day of Cooperatives holds great significance as it serves as a global platform to recognize and celebrate the remarkable contributions of cooperative enterprises. It highlights the transformative power of cooperation in addressing societal challenges and fostering sustainable development. The observance of this day promotes awareness about the cooperative movement’s values, principles, and positive impacts on individuals, communities, and economies worldwide. It emphasizes the importance of collective action, equality, empowerment, and inclusive decision-making. By commemorating this day, we acknowledge and appreciate the significant role cooperatives play in building a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.