A side event at this year’s UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development (Mondiacult 2022) looked at how cooperatives advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through culture and the creative sector.

The session, led by the International Cooperative Alliance, (ICA) was supported by the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA) and Cooperatives of the Americas. It was held online, and in person with sessions in Brussels, Belgium, and San José, Costa Rica.

The first part of the side event was hosted from Brussels. Martin Lowery, chair of the ICA Board Committee on the Cooperative Identity, said it was a follow-up to discussions at last year’s World Cooperative Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea (2021) which looked at the idea of cooperative culture and safeguarding cultural heritage. “This is the first literal action to be taken out of the Congress,” he said.

Lowery highlighted how the ILO defines co-ops as a means to meet economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations. He posed a series of questions for participants – “How do co-ops safeguard cultural heritage? How do they organise workers in the cultural sector? How do they use education to build a better world?” – and said the co-operative movement is “very appreciative of the honour of being recognised by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage” since 2016.

“What we hope to accomplish through this event is the ability to expand and deepen our institutional collaboration with UNESCO which we value highly, and to see more of these opportunities in the future,” he added.

To discover more about the round table discussions on the cultural heritage for the future, follow link below: