Who is eligible?

We offer two types of membership:

  1. cooperatives, entities that operate like cooperatives, and organisations that unite or federate cooperatives may become Full Members while
  2. other kinds of organisations that support cooperatives in some way, can become Associate Members.

All applicants must:

  • Have a legal personality,
  • Be properly constituted under the laws and practices of their country of origin,
  • Support the ICA’s purpose, and
  • Agree to the obligations of membership, including payment of the annual subscription fees as per the ICA’s Articles of Association and Internal Rules here.

Those eligible to become Full Members must operate on a cooperative basis in a manner consistent with ICA’s Statement on the Cooperative Identity and be one of the following:

  • a primary cooperative whose members are natural persons, business organisations or both;
  • an entity that operates as a cooperative but is located in a country that does not have a cooperative statute; 
  • an entity that operates as a cooperative but that cannot be legally structured as a cooperative owing to the regulatory regime governing the sector in which it operates;
  • an entity organised as a mutual association;
  • a sectoral or multi-sectoral second-tier co-operative, federation, union or association organised at the subnational or national level the majority of whose members are cooperatives or mutual associations;
  • a sectoral or multi-sectoral confederation organised at the subnational or national level, the majority of whose members are second-tier cooperatives or cooperative or mutual federations, unions or associations; or 
  • a supranational or international federation, union or association of cooperative organisations.

Those eligible to become Associate Members are organisations that are not eligible to be full members, are supporters of cooperatives and ICA’s Statement on the Cooperative Identity, and are one of the following:

  • an organisation, not itself a cooperative, that is either owned and controlled entirely by cooperatives or the majority of whose owners are cooperatives;
  • an institution, not itself a cooperative, that offers training or education programmes in the field of cooperatives or conducts research on cooperatives; 
  • an organisation, not itself a cooperative, that promotes, finances or offers technical assistance to cooperatives and the cooperative movement; or
  • a government or state agency with a mandate of relevance to cooperatives.

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