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UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities 2022: Thrissur & Nilambur in Kerala and Warangal in Telangana Become the First Entrants from India

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The Indian cities of Nilambur & Thrissur in Kerala and Warangal in Telangana, have earned recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after becoming India’s first entrants into the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC).

  • The UNESCO GNLC is an international policy-oriented network providing inspiration, know-how and best practice.
  • The UNESCO GNLC has honoured 77 cities from 44 countries in 2022 in recognition of their outstanding work to make lifelong learning a reality for all at the local level.The 77 new members bring the total number of cities within the UNESCO GNLC to 294 in 76 countries
  • Other cities that have joined the network are the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Durban in South Africa and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates among others.

Highlights of Indian Cities That Have Joined UNESCO GNLC

Thrissur: The Cultural Capital of Kerala

Thrissur, Kerala’s cultural capital, is home to academic and research institutes and is well-known for its gold and jewellery sectors.

  • Leading private sector banks in India, such as Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB), Dhanlaxmi Bank, and South Indian Bank (SIB), have their headquarters in Thrissur.

Nilambur: A Prominent Ecotourism Destination in Kerala

Nilambur is a popular eco-tourism destination in Kerala. It is distinguished primarily by diverse socioeconomic trends and a mix of urban and rural populations.

  • The majority of the population is reliant on agriculture and related sectors.

The city strives to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) -2 of “zero hunger” and employment opportunities.

  • The city is most renowned for its healthcare facility development.

Warangal: Historic City of Telangana

Warangal is Telangana’s second largest city, next to Hyderabad, the state capital.

  • This is the second UNESCO recognition for Telangana, as the 13th-century Great Ramappa Temple in the erstwhile Warangal district (now in Mulugu district) was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2021.
  • It was Telangana’s first archaeologically significant site to be listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Some of the most developed cities in UNESCO GNLC: Beijing & Shanghai in China, Hamburg in Germany, Athens in Greece, Incheon in South Korea, Bristol in England, and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC)

i.The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) was launched by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in 2013 with the goal of promoting social cohesion, economic development and sustainability in urban areas.

ii.As part of its global policy, the UNESCO GNLC adopted a strategy in 2019 to enhance the achievement of all 17 SDGs, which will be put into practice between 2021-23. It specifically aspires to accomplish:

  • SDG 4 – ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’
  • SDG 11 – ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’

What is a Learning City?

A learning city promotes lifelong learning for all. According to UNESCO, a learning city is one that:

  • Effectively mobilizes its resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education
  • Revitalizes learning in families and communities
  • Facilitates learning for and in the workplace
  • Extends the use of modern learning technologies
  • Enhances quality and excellence in learning
  • Fosters a culture of learning throughout life

Recent Related News:

In July 2022, India was elected as a State Member of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage for a period of 2022-2026 i.e. 4 years. India is also a member of the World Heritage committee of UNESCO (2021-2025).

About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):

Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Founded – 1945 (came into force in 1946)
Headquarters – Paris, France
Members – 193 Members & 11 Associate Members