Istanbul was selected as the Host City of the XV UNESCO Creative Cities Network’s Annual Conference in 2021 following an online vote by the 180 members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) present in 72 countries.
“Future Proof Cities” will be the theme of the 2021 conference, referring to the concept of urban future-proofing, which involves monitoring developments in all areas of urban life to ensure an equilibrium between the environment, technology, economic activity and human needs and aspirations.
Indeed, the UCCN Annual Conferences bring together mayors, municipal decision makers and other stakeholders to examine ways to place people at the centre of sustainable urban development from the economic, environmental, social and cultural perspectives, echoing the overarching objective of United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Leaving no one behind.
This year’s conference was hosted by Fabriano, Italy, and the 2020 event will take place in the city of Santos in Brazil, a UNESCO Creative City of Film since 2015. Santos will be the first city of the Latin America and Caribbean Region to host the UCCN Annual Conference and the first Creative City of Film to do so. Under the theme “Creativity, Path to Equality”, the 2020 Annual Conference will demonstrate the power of creativity and culture in advancing sustainable development and reducing social and economic inequalities.
Krakow and Katowice, Poland hosted the Annual Conference in 2018, after Enghien-les-Bains, France (2017), and Östersund, Sweden (2016).
UNESCO established the Creative Cities Programme and Network to promote international cooperation between cities that are committed to investing in culture and creativity to stimulate and drive sustainable development. The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.
Cities in the Network anchor culture and creativity in their development frameworks and policies to advance objectives such as social cohesion, employment and entrepreneurship and gender balance among others for the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The annual conferences are a unique opportunity for cities to review their achievements, exchange best practices and ideas, identify new trends, discuss challenges and opportunities and build connections and partnerships.
Home to over half of the world’s population, cities play a crucial role in developing and implementing strategies that address the development challenges of the 21st century. In this context, the UNESCO Creative Cities Programme and its Annual Conference have an ever more critical role to play in addressing the contemporary challenges and opportunities facing cities and human settlements.