International Year of Cooperatives

The United Nations proclaimed 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) on 18 December 2009 during the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The goal of the International Year was to highlight the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly in regards to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration, and encourage the growth and establishment of cooperatives all over the world. The theme of the IYC was “Cooperative enterprises build a better world”.

See the UN resolution A/RES/64/136 proclaiming the IYC (also available in French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian), the UN News press release and the ILO press release.

Activities for the IYC were planned by the UN in close collaboration with COPAC, of which the UN was chair. COPAC served as the Coordinating Committee.

An expert group meeting organised by UNDESA on the theme “Cooperatives and Social Development: Beyond 2012″ was held in Mongolia on 3-6 May 2011 to discuss how the IYC goals could be achieved after 2012, notably by providing input to the UN plan of action on cooperatives. More information can be found on the UN website.

The Global Launch of the IYC took place on 31 October 2011 at UN Headquarters in New York during the plenary meeting of the 66th UN General Assembly.

During the IYC, cooperatives, governments, policymakers and stakeholders around the world promoted the value of cooperation.

The logo


The logo of the IYC evokes the definition of cooperative enterprises as autonomous associations of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations, through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

Based on the slogan of the year, “Cooperative enterprises build a better world”, the logo people working together to lift and support a cube. The cube represents the various projects goals and aspirations upon which cooperative enterprises are built and the achievements that can be attained. The gender neutral figures represent the people central to the cooperative model. The presence of seven people echoes the seven principles of the cooperative movement.

As illustrated by the logo, these seven principles work together to allow cooperative members to achieve the goals and desires that they would not have been able to attain through their individual efforts.

For more information about the IYC, please visit the official website.