» The Director-General highlights the powerful role of UNESCO Creative Cities for sustainable development
21.07.2017 - ODG

The Director-General highlights the powerful role of UNESCO Creative Cities for sustainable development


From 21 to 22 July, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova undertook a visit to Italy at the invitation of the city of Fabriano, UNESCO Creative City and the Aristide Merloni Foundation. The visit aimed at launching of a series of initiatives to sustain the socio-cultural and economic development of the areas struck by the deadly earthquakes of August and October 2016.

On 21 July 2017, the Director-General met in Fabriano (Italy) with representatives of the network of Italian Creative Cities, respectively, Bologna, Parma, Turin, Rome and Fabriano. The city of Fabriano has been just designated to host the Annual Meeting of UNESCO’s Network of 116 Creative Cities in 2019: http://www.fabrianocreativa.it/ . The meeting, which was attended by some 100 people and media, was also meant to mark the support of the Italian Network of Creative cities to the Appennine area that was struck by two devastating earthquakes in 2016. The event took place in the presence of a number of high-level personalities, notably: Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism of Italy; Gabriele Santarelli, Mayor of Fabriano; Luca Ceriscioli, President of Marche Region, Francesco Tafuri, Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Enrico Vicenti, Secretary-General of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, and Francesca Merloni, focal point for the city of Fabriano. The event was attended by some 100 people and media.

The representatives of the Italian Creative Cities introduced concrete ways for their cities to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and initiatives underway to promote greater integration amongst the 116 cities belonging to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Speakers highlighted the importance of valuing the specificities and diversity of artistic and cultural expressions, the know-how of each city in its own category and the opportunities of the UNESCO brand for local participation, intergenerational dialogue, social inclusion and access for persons with disabilities, youth participation, gender equality, the development of innovation, as well as for jobs and employment in the culture sector.

The need for a global integrated roadmap for UNESCO Creative Cities Network was also discussed, as well as the need to develop statistical data and indicators on the contribution of UNESCO Creative Cities to the local, social, cultural and economic development of the cities themselves and more globally of the impact for the country. The meeting also provided an opportunity to highlight the role of culture and creativity for urban sustainability and recovery in cities affected by natural disasters, and to document best practices in this area building on cities’ experiences facing similar natural disasters across the world. In this regard, Irina Bokova reaffirmed UNESCO’s support to the revitalization of cities, affected by the 2016 earthquake in the center of Italy, and underlined the key role of culture, creativity and heritage as drivers of resilience, social cohesion and confidence into the future.

In the same context, the city of Fabriano presented the project “RINASCO” (“REBORN”), an initiative promoted by the Aristide Merloni Foundation, in conjunction with the town of San Ginesio that was selected as the pilot for the reconstruction efforts in the Appennine area damaged by the earthquakes. The objective of the project RINASCO is to create a digital platform of the entire medieval town damaged by the earthquake and supporting the structural reconstruction, social welfare, and social and cultural recovery, know-how and entrepreneurship.

“My presence with you today is to show the solidarity of the international community to the people and town of the Apennine area following the earthquakes that struck your region. Culture is about resilience and I wish to commend the Merloni Foundation and the UNESCO Network of Italian Creative Cities for their extraordinary dynamism and commitment to UNESCO values for a sustainable future grounded on culture and creativity in support of an important cause” said Irina Bokova.

Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities, and Tourism of Italy stated, “Behind the tragedy of the earthquake, there is another story, the story of towns and cities that are proud of their cultural heritage and their historical urban centers which form part of their identity.”

Francesca Merloni, Focal Point Fabriano Creative City and Member of the Aristide Merloni Foundation, stated for her part the need for “a global movement in support of the Region. A renewed energy for the rebirth of a territory which was marked by centuries of history and poetry, and give it a new life that we will craft together”.


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