UNESCO has added co-operatives to the list of intangible cultural assets. Co-ops are among the sixteen new entries added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The decision was adopted by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which took place on 2 December in Ethiopia. The Committee meets annually to examine nominations proposed by State Parties to the 2003 Convention.
The list of intangible heritage now includes the idea and practice of organising shared interests in co-operatives. The list describes co-operative as entities that “allow for community building through shared interests and values creating innovative solutions to societal problems, from generating employment and assisting seniors to urban revitalisation and renewable energy projects”.
Earlier this year, the correspondence collection of Robert Owen, founder of the co-operative movement, was also added to the UNESCO Memory of the World.
The UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992, on the principle that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all and should be preserved and made permanently accessible to everyone.