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ICA Global

What is the ICA?

Founded in 1895, the International Co-operative Alliance is an independent, non-governmental organisation which unites, represents and serves co-operatives worldwide. It is the largest non-governmental organisations in the world. ICA members are national and international co-operative organisations in all sectors of activity including agriculture, banking, fisheries, health, housing, industry, insurance, tourism and consumer co-operatives. Currently, ICA has 249 member organisations from 94 countries, representing approximately 1 billion individuals worldwide.

What does ICA do?

ICA's priorities and activities centre on promoting and defending the Co-operative Identity, ensuring that co-operative enterprise is a recognised form of enterprise that is able to compete in the marketplace.

  • ICA raises awareness about co-operatives. It helps individuals, government authorities and regional and international institutions understand the co-operative model of enterprise. ICA is the voice of the co-operative movement.
  • ICA 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.
  • ICA provides its members with key information, best practice and contacts. Through its publications it ensures the sharing of information. It organises meetings and workshops to address key issues affecting co-operatives and allows discussion among co-operators from around the world. ICA facilitates contacts between co-operatives for trading purposes and intelligence sharing in a wide range of areas. 
  • ICA provides technical assistance to co-operatives through its development programme. ICA promotes capacity-building and financial support, it facilitates job creation and supports poverty reduction and microfinance programmes around the world.

More information on ICA's structure, ICA's activities, ICA's membership, ICA's publications. Also please contact the ICA for any further information.

ICA Global Strategy 2009-2012

The ICA Strategic Plan represents a global vision of the 'one ICA', including planning for the central and regional offices as well as the sectoral organisations for the period 2009-2012. It includes commonly agreed strategic objectives, key result areas, outcomes and indicators, as well as the strategic initiatives as defined by reach component of the ICA.

ICA Board Code of Governance

Governance refers to how powers are distributed and exercised by different groups. It is concerned with the practices and procedures used by an organisation to ensure that it can meet its objectives. The ICA considers that this Code of Governance is an essential feature in a modern and transparent co-operative organisation.

ICA Logo and Flag

ICA flagThe ICA logo depicts doves of peace emerging from a rainbow - the symbol of the Co-operative Movement - and represents the unity of ICA's diverse membership. It was initially designed for ICA' Centennial Congress in 1995.
The colours of the rainbow stand for the following for co-operatives:

Red stands for courage. 
Orange offers the vision of possibilities. 
Yellow represents the challenge that GREEN has kindled. 
Green  represents growth, a challenge to co-operators to strive for growth of membership and of understanding of the aims and values of co-operation.
Sky blue   suggests far horizons, the need to provide education and help to unfortunate people and to strive towards global unity. 
Dark blue  suggests pessimism, reminding us of less fortunate people in the world who are in need of the benefits from co-operation. 
Violet  is the colour of warmth, beauty and friendship

The ICA has been flying a flag carrying the ICA logo since April 2001, when the Board decided to replace the traditional rainbow flag. This The flag was changed to clearly promote and strengthen the co-operative image. The rainbow flag was used by a number of non-cooperative groups and this led to confusion in several countries around the world.