UNESCO Creative Cities Network Reaffirms Commitment to Culture-led Implementation of the SDGs at its XII Annual Meeting
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network XII Annual Meeting held in Krakow and Katowice (Poland) from 12 to 15 June 2018 saw the adoption of a “Mayor’s Declaration”, focusing on how to advance the implementation of the United Nations Agenda 2030 in cities through culture, a key objective of the Network. Over 350 participants, including over 50 mayors and deputy mayors from across the globe, reaffirmed their cities’ commitment to achieving the SDGs, and the SDG 11 in particular, through targeted policies and strategies.
“In Medellín we understand that cultural and creative industries can generate decent work and economic growth that impacts the entire city, helping to reduce poverty and improving the quality of life. Through art, messages can be taken to the communities, changes can be achieved,” declared Lina Botero Villa, Secretary of Culture of Medellin (Colombia).
Creative cooperation for sustainable development
Spurred on by this year’s theme “Creative Crossroads” the Creative Cities explored new cooperation prospects. For instance, Joao Pessoa (Brazil), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Porto-Novo (Benin) envisage linking their crafts sectors to expand opportunities for their artisans at the international level. “Our role is to promote, guide and enable the emergence of creative forces. This meeting represents a unique opportunity for my city to broaden its international outreach and exchange with my peers,” said Nathanaël Ouedraogo, Deputy Mayor of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).
Five thematic workshops and networking sessions allowed cities to advance the role of culture, particularly through creativity, as an enabler of sustainable development. Among the topics addressed were the need for reliable data collection, measurement and monitoring processes for culture, the impact of digital technologies in shaping the city of tomorrow, urban regeneration, and youth, as a priority target. As Marco Ciari, focal point for Turin (Italy) highlighted, “Engaging the youth is key for the future of our societies […] it is not a question of content but of tools: what are the levers for young people?”
LAB.2030 – Generating innovative ideas
The Annual Meeting provided an opportunity to showcase the UCCN LAB.2030 Initiative, which demonstrates diverse ways in which the Creative Cities embrace innovation and culture in their local policies. For example, a strategy on creativity is used in Saint-Étienne (France) to explore new paths towards economic development, and in Santos (Brazil) to stimulate knowledge and boost employability. Other examples include Cairo (Egypt), where new ways of connecting heritage to local economies are explored including safeguarding of cultural and natural heritage, and Sydney (Australia), where creative industries are key in the promotion of social inclusion, gender equality and participatory urban policy governance.
This year the UNESCO Creative Cities Network has strengthened cooperation worldwide on creativity and heritage as a foundation to making cities more inclusive, resilient and sustainable. The next Annual Meeting in 2019 will focus on the theme of “The Ideal City” and will be hosted by the city of Fabriano (Italy).