UNESCO Director-General highlights the potential of UNESCO Creative Cities Network for Development
On 6 June, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, opened the Second UNESCO Creative Cities Summit in the presence of Ms Liu Yandong, Vice Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, the Mayor of Beijing Mr Wang Anshun and the Minister of Education, Mr Yuan Guiren.
Representatives from 60 countries are attending the summit on the theme of sustainable urban development, including mayors, deputy mayors and policy-makers of the UNESCO Creative Cities, academics and experts, from across the world. They will explore innovative ways of fully integrating culture and creativity into local development strategies and plans.
«Cities are our greatest motors of dynamism, poverty elimination and living together. They are also sources of injustice and exclusion,» said the Director-General. «They need the right ‘software’ to work. This requires sharper policies, stronger cooperation and wider knowledge-sharing. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network promotes cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic enabler for sustainable urban development. »
She commended the Government of China for making culture one of the pillars of its development strategy, observing that the country counts eight Creative Cities - the best represented in the Network, and singled out the leadership of Beijing’s mayor Mr Anshung Wang.
Addressing the opening, Mayor Anshung Wang affirmed that «Beijing will actively support the role of creativity for the development of cities. We will share experiences and learn from other cities to accelerate the development of creative industries so that creativity and innovation can better serve the sustainable growth of creative cities. »
China’s Minister of Education, Mr Yuan Guiren stated that « cities are important platforms for cultural dialogue and civilizational exchange. The development of cities cannot happen without education – an education that is equitable, innovative and green to build the well-being of society. »
At the end of the opening ceremony, Vice Prime Minister Liu Yandong, the Mayor of Beijing, the Minister of Education and the Director-General Irina Bokova launched the International Centre for Creativity and Sustainable Development, established under the auspices of UNESCO in Beijing.
The Chinese edition of UNESCO’s global report on "Re|Shaping Cultural Policies" was also released to coincide with the Summit.
The Second UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit will serve as a dialogue and discussion platform to fully harness the Network’s potential for the implementation of the international development agenda, by especially focusing on research and policy-making. This is directly linked to Sustainable Development Goal 11 « to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilience and sustainable, » with culture as essential levers for action.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network comprises 116 cities from 54 countries, covering Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts, and aims to foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.
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