15.06.2016 - ODG

Montreal, City of Creativity and Living Together: meeting with the Mayor Denis Coderre

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, and Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal

During her participation in the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal, Canada, the Director-General of UNESCO met on 15 June 2016, the Honourable Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal, member of the Creative Cities Network in the field of design for ten years.

Montreal was the first city in North America to receive this designation. The Mayor presented the Director-General a copy of the recent periodic report for the past three years, a report outlining the tangible effects of the actions that have been taken in collaboration with a wide range of partners to promote a rich diversity of design and designers.

The Mayor also stressed that Montreal is a UN city, headquarters of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, host to nine UNESCO university chairs, a member of the International Coalition of Cities against Racism and having institutions belonging to the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network. He expressed his interest in playing a more active role within the Organization, highlighting actions that have been taken to fight against radicalization and promote living together. In this respect, Quebec hosted in June 2015 the Living Together Summit. It has recently created a Center for Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence and an International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together in order to examine new challenges and share innovative practices and initiatives.

The Director-General congratulated the Mayor for the commitments made by Montreal, one of the first cities to join the Creative Cities Network, and for making creativity a sustainable urban development lever. Thanking Mr. Coderre for the periodic report, she said that these initiatives should be shared, referring also to the recent UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit on 6 June, where she met the representative from Montreal.

Furthermore, the Director-General said that by promoting cultural diversity, knowledge sharing and innovation to the benefit of inclusion, Montreal embodies a model of living together which is a promising vector for the future, in close resonance with the values of the Organization.

The Mayor and the Director-General noted the importance of the Third United Nations Conference on Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) which will be held next October in Quito, Ecuador, and a possible collaboration on that occasion, Mr. Coderre being also president of Metropolis, the World Association of major cities. He stressed the importance of urban planning to promote access to quality education, culture and cultural industries.

The Director-General also thanked the Mayor for the contribution made by the Montreal Police to a UNESCO training project to enable policemen to know more about freedom of expression and security of journalists. This project was initiated in 2013 in Tunisia. It has benefited at the beginning from the expertise of the Police Service of Montreal, which drafted part of the training textbook and conducted several trainings for security forces and journalists in Tunisia, followed by Somalia, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, and now in Mali.

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