31 October: World Cities Day
Learning cities are key drivers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Over half the world’s people live in cities. With the right learning structures in place, cities can make an important contribution to sustainable development at local level and beyond. The power of cities, such as those that belong to the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, was celebrated worldwide on World Cities Day on 31 October.
To mark the day, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and UNESCO HQ have co-organized an international conference, ‘Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations’, which brought together representatives of 24 municipalities form all parts of the globe. They presented their approaches to issues such as sustainability and climate action, urban regeneration and social inclusion, as well as technological innovation. The UNESCO Learning City of Cork in Ireland showcased how effective lifelong learning policies and practices support the development of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities.
‘We will only achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if cities are adequately equipped to respond to the current global challenges and ensure that no one is left behind,’ said UIL Director, David Atchoarena. ‘Education is key in this endeavour. UNESCO Learning Cities show how lifelong learning policies and practices reaching people of all ages, and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds make sustainable development a reality at local level. I encourage policy-makers and practitioners worldwide to use the valuable resource represented by the 170 active members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.’
The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, coordinated by UIL, supports and improves the practice of lifelong learning in member cities by promoting policy dialogue and peer learning, documenting effective strategies and good practice, fostering partnerships, providing capacity development, and developing tools and instruments to design, implement and monitor learning cities strategies. It is one of UNESCO’s eight city networks and programmes.
UNESCO conference “Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations”, 31 October 2019