The UCCN is UNESCO’s flagship city programme, established in 2004. Its members include 246 cities from more than eighty member States. UCCN brings together cities that have identified culture and creativity as strategic agents in building the sustainable cities of tomorrow, contributing to achievement of the SDGs.
The UCCN brings together cities which recognize that culture and creativity promote their sustainable development. The cities pool their resources and knowledge in support of the objectives laid out in the Network’s Mission Statement. The Network covers seven creative fields: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music, and promotes intersectoral collaboration across different creative fields. The UCCN supports cultural diversity, for members of all regions and from all demographic, economic, social, cultural and environmental settings.
Urban areas are primary laboratories for the development of new strategies, policies and initiatives that aim to make culture and creativity a driving force for sustainable development.
The multifaceted nature of sustainable development highlights the need to reinforce its local dimension and develop innovative and transversal approaches. The dynamism of cities represents a major resource for sustainable development.
“Culture and creativity are building blocks for the future of cities and, amidst the health crisis, the sector has proved its importance, providing an opportunity to shape a better future for cities. Creative Cities are key partners of UNESCO for the local implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda by encouraging cities to use innovation, new technologies, and creativity for sustainable urban development. The UCCN is also part of the UNESCO Cities Platform, a compendium of eight UNESCO programmes dedicated to cities, whose cross-sectoral approach creates synergies between different urban dimensions.”
Reinforcing culture-powered urban development is at the core of the UCCN’s mission. Culture has the power to transform societies, strengthen local communities, forge a sense of identity and belonging, and increase the attractiveness of cities. The current health crisis has highlighted the contribution of culture to collective well-being. It has further underlined the importance of the local dimension in all development issues and solutions.
Creative Cities integrate the transformative potential of culture and creativity in their development processes.
UCCN member cities work together towards a common mission: placing culture and creativity at the heart of their urban development plans to make a safe, resilient, inclusive, sustainable and future-proof urban environment for all, in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably Goal 11 on cities.
As laboratories of ideas and innovative practices, the UCCN makes a tangible contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through people-centred policymaking and place-based projects and initiatives. The Network promotes cities’ central role in sustainable development, highlighting the importance of the local dimension.
The UCCN aims to stimulate and enhance access to and participation in cultural life and the enjoyment of cultural goods and services, notably for marginalized or vulnerable groups, as well as youth and women.
New members. The 2021 UCCN Call for Applications was launched in March and closed in June 2021. Applications are currently being evaluated and new member cities will be designated towards the end of the year.
UNESCO’s global response to the pandemic. The UCCN Secretariat is currently developing its second publication, which will disseminate Creative Cities’ culture and creativity-leveraged responses and recovery measures to the pandemic. A sequel to the 2020 publication, the second edition will focus on the long-term recovery of cities from the pandemic.
The XIV UCCN Annual Conference was held in Santos, Brazil in March 2022. The Conference offered a unique occasion to strengthen the ties between member cities, but also served as a platform of exchange and collaboration through cultural and creative projects and initiatives. A Mayors’ Forum was organized as a highlight of the Conference.
World Cities Day. The UCCN contributed to UNESCO’s celebration of the 2021 World Cities Day on 31 October 2021.
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