Japan Joint Committee of Cooperatives (JJC), formed mainly by national organizations of agricultural, consumers, and fishery cooperatives, made an announcement on December 14 that “cooperatives” were registered as an intangible cultural heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO).
UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which decided to add cooperatives to a list of intangible cultural assets on December 2 in Ethiopia, expressed an expectation for further development of cooperatives’ activities, saying, “Cooperatives have been creating innovative solutions to current social problems by generating employment and assisting seniors.”
Higher appreciation has been expressed by the international body of the United Nations, while negative views on functions played by cooperatives have been intentionally disseminated in Japan during recent years.
Application for registration of cooperatives as UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage had been made by the federal Government of Germany which highly appraises values of cooperatives based upon democratic principles such as mutual trust and self-help of members.
Cooperatives were also nominated by the German government because they had made great contributions to social, cultural and economic interests.
The UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee officially recognizes that cooperatives have been successful in wide-ranged areas from employment generation, helps for elderly people, urban revitalization to renewable energy projects.