International Co-operative Alliance

ICA is an international association that was created with the goal of reuniting, representing and supporting the cooperatives of the whole world. It was established in London in 1895 - the same year don Lorenzo Guett laid the foundations for the Federation of cooperative consortia in Trentino - and still today it represents cooperatives in 109 countries.

Ivano Barberini notes how the idea of an international organisation was born in Italy: “the proposition was discussed and approved by the second congress of the Italian Federation of cooperatives and mutual aid Societies, established in 1866”. In 1946 ICA acquired consultative status at the UN that was just of organisations as the ILO - International Labour Organization and FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization and it began a process of division in sectoral and geographical associations. In 1982 the central ICA Office was transferred from London to Geneva and some years ago from Geneva to Brussels.

In 1995, 100 years after its creation, ICA celebrated in England, Manchester, its convention and on that occasion it reformulated the essential features of cooperative identity. Cooperatives that are part of it are national and international, linked to all the economic sectors.

In 2001 for the first time the presidency was given to an Italian cooperative member, Ivano Barberini, who guided the international organisation until his death in 2009. Every first Saturday of July ICA coordinates the celebrations of the International Co-operative Day.

Ivan Barberini recalls how “the proposition of establishing a day of cooperation was promoted in 1894 by the National League of Cooperatives and mutual aid Societies and it was accepted by ICA in 1923”.

For more information:

M. Dorigatti, T. Menzani (a cura di), Identità e valori dell'impresa cooperativa. Scritti e discorsi scelti di Ivano Barberini, presidente dell'International co-operative alliance (2001-2009), Catanzaro, 2019