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2 Indian Cities Gwalior and Kozhikode Named in UNESCO Creative Cities Network on World Cities Day 2023

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On the occasion of World Cities Day (31 October 2023), 55 cities joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network (UCCN). The list featured 2 Indian Cities namely Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) and Kozhikode (Kerala).

  • Gwalior has been designated as the UNESCO ‘City of Music’ and Kozhikode as the UNESCO ‘City of Literature’.
  • The newly recognised cities highlight their dedication to integrating culture and creativity into their developmental frameworks.
  • The cities demonstrate exceptional proficiency in human-centered urban planning.

Creative Fields:

With the latest inclusion, UCCN now counts 350 cities in more than 100 countries, representing 7 creative fields namely:

  • Crafts and Folk Art; Design, Film; Gastronomy; Literature; Media Arts; and Music.

Gwalior- City of Music:

i.The City of Gwalior is known for legends in the sector of music like Sangeet Samarat (Music Emperor) Tansen and Baliti Bawra.

ii.It is also considered to be the birthplace of Gwalior Gharana, the eponymously named oldest Hindustani musical Gharana.

iii.The cultural identity of Gwalior, centered in its historic core, is a key resource for the city.

iv.Gwalior has been officially designated a ‘Smart City’ by the Indian Government, due to its strategic location, close to prominent commercial hubs and tourism circuits in India.

v.Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and Ministry of Steel played a pivotal role in advocating for Gwalior’s inclusion in UNESCO’s list.

Note: In 2020, Gwalior along with its historical neighbouring town Orchha was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Cities under its Urban Landscaped Cities programme.

Kozhikode- City of Literature:

i.Kozhikode, renowned for its literary culture commenced its journey toward achievements in 2022, with a proposal by the Kerala Institute of Local Administration.

ii.The Kozhikode Corporation’s collaboration with the University of Prague (the inaugural ‘City of Literature’ in 2014), highlighted the Kozhikode’s global literary aspirations.

iii.A research student from the University of Prague named Ludmila Kolouchova’s comparative study between Kozhikode and Prague underscored Kozhikode’s literary expertise, showcasing its 500 more libraries and 70 more publishers.

iv.With the annual Kerala Literature Festival and various book fairs, Kozhikode demonstrated its vibrant literary landscape, securing its position on UNESCO’s Creative Cities list.

Indian cities included in UCCN:

  • Jaipur: Crafts and Folk Arts (2015)
  • Varanasi: Music (2015)
  • Chennai: Music (2017)
  • Mumbai: Film (2019)
  • Hyderabad: Gastronomy (2019)
  • Srinagar: Crafts and Folk Arts (2021)
  • Gwalior: Music (2023)
  • Kozhikode: Literature (2023)

Key Points:

i.The list also includes Bukhara (Uzbekistan)- Crafts and Folk Art; Casablanca (Morocco)- Media Arts; Kathmandu (Nepal)- Film, among others.

ii.Newly designated cities partner with Network members to enhance resilience. The cities confront climate change, inequality, and urbanization, affecting 68% of the population projected to live in urban areas by 2050.

iii.The forthcoming policy paper, titled “The Added Value of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network at Local, National, and International level,” highlights the crucial role of cities in advancing the 2030 Agenda.

iv.The cities are invited to participate in the 2024 UCCN Annual Conference from 1 – 5 July 2024 in Braga, Portugal, under the theme “Bringing Youth to the Table for the next decade”

About UCCN:

i.UCCN was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

ii.The Creative Cities Network serves as a vital partner for UNESCO, fostering discussions on creativity’s impact on sustainable development.

  • It drives action and innovation, supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

Objective of the cities: Place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperate actively at the international level.

Recent related News:

Santiniketan in West Bengal (WB) and Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas in Karnataka were inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list.

About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director-General– Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters– Paris, France
Established in– 1945