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September 7, 2019

UNESCO Creative Cities Annual Conference: Santos, Brazil, will host it in 2020; Istanbul, Turkey, will host it in 2021.

UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Istanbul

Photo: Istanbul, Turkey. Image Credit: Juan Antonio Segal. The city of Istanbul in Turkey is a UNESCO Creative City of Design.

Paris, France, 07 September 2019 — Istanbul has been 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.

Istanbul is a major city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. Istanbul’s Old City reflects the cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here.

“Future Proof Cities” will be the theme of the 2021 conference. This theme refers to the concept of urban future-proofing. It involves monitoring developments in all areas of urban life to ensure an equilibrium between the environment, technology, economic activity, and human needs and aspirations.

The UCCN Annual Conferences bring together mayors, municipal decision-makers, and other stakeholders. They examine ways to place people at the center of sustainable urban development from the economic, environmental, social, and cultural perspectives. The UCCN conferences echo the overarching objective of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - Leaving no one behind.

Fabriano, Italy, hosted this year’s conference.

Santos, Brazil

Photo: Santos, Brazil. Image Credit: Ricardo ATB. The city of Santos in Brazil is a UNESCO Creative City of Film.

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, 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 results, exchange best practices and ideas, and identify new trends. The cities discuss challenges and opportunities and build connections and partnerships.

Home to over half of the world’s population, the 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.

Source: UNESCO, Paris.

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