Kabul Photo Biennale “Rebirth” | City of Kabul © Karti Sakhi

Thematic Area 8: The Afghanistan Creative Cities Network

Cities in Afghanistan have diverse and unique cultural qualities inherited from history and singular regional legacies. These legacies provide a huge potential for Afghan municipalities to enhance their cities’ cultural and creative narratives.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the international community in September 2015 highlights culture and creativity as key levers for sustainable urban development. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) launched in 2004, and which now counts 116 member cities, fosters international cooperation between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and a rich cultural life.

With the assistance of UNESCO, Bamiyan was the first city from Afghanistan, and even from Central Asia, to be admitted to the UCCN in 2015, as the City of Crafts and Folk Arts.  Bamiyan is now following through by using cultural creativity as a key factor in its development. Within this thematic area, UNESCO could support other similar initiatives of Afghan cities that would wish to join the network (Jalalabad, City of Literature; Herat, City of Design; etc.)

Within the UCCN framework, the cultural potential of Afghan cities can flourish through inter-cultural dialogue with foreign cities. This global network of culture and creativity enables cities to promote their heritage across the world, a process that will assist the country in the way it is perceived abroad, and will contribute to the “rebranding” of Afghanistan that the Government wishes to achieve.

Back to top