Since its onset, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on all aspects of human life around the world. As major centres of economic, social and cultural activity, with a high concentration of people, cities have been at the forefront of the crisis and have mobilised to provide rapid responses to the multiple impacts of the pandemic.
Viewing the pandemic not only as a crisis, but also as an opportunity, the meeting encourages Creative Cities and other stakeholders and actors, including Member States, to continue to cultivate the power and potential of culture and creativity to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also calls for more action to build resilient, inclusive and people-centred cities in the long term.
During 2-day opening session, on 6 and 7 July 2021, the Creative Cities mayors shared their vision of the contribution of culture and creativity to sustainable urban development. Their intensions were illustrated by concrete cases and initiatives implemented by the cities to face the pandemic.
This session showed how Creative Cities have used their cultural and creative assets and potential to develop innovative responses to the socio-economic and other impacts of the pandemic. Drawing on selected cases from the first global call, the session illustrated the different ways in which culture and creativity have been used to respond to the pandemic, in various areas such as access to and participation in cultural activities, supportive policies and measures, education and learning, and cooperation between cities, among others.
Firstly, we reflected collectively on the role of culture and creativity in managing urban challenges and opportunities, both in immediate short-term responses and in long-term recovery plans. During the session, cases illustrating different creative areas of the Network were presented, with the aim of inspiring cities around the world to adapt.
Secondly, the main topic was the revival of tourism, it is essential to initiate a coordinated and holistic revival action at international level in order to exploit the potential of tourism as a factor of recovery and sustainable and inclusive growth for cities. In this context and based on the lessons learned from the Creative Cities cases, this session explored ways to revitalise urban tourism and the structural transformations needed to shape a more sustainable and resilient tourism through culture and creativity.
Unesco Creative Design Cities commonly meet to exchange on different topics that affect design in relation to politics, business, education and communication. This meeting was an opportunity to involve some of the cities designated in 2019: Asahikawa, Baku, Bangkok, Fortaleza, Hanoi, Muḩarraq and Querétaro. The next sub-network meeting will be hosted by Geelong, it will take place digitally from 12-14 October 2021 with the theme Reimagining, Renewing, Regenerating.