UNESCO and the World Bank present economic actions for creative cities

UNESCO and the World Bank are partnering for the first time in an initiative designed to foster cultural and creative industries as a development and recovery plan during and after COVID 19.

In a position paper published at the end of May, UNESCO and the World Bank presented the framework for action: Cities, Culture and Creativity, so that metropolises are more creative, activating sustainable ecosystems in which the aforementioned industries reach their maximum potential to contribute to the growth of the economy, the vitality of the city, the innovation of governments and social inclusion.

The creative economy is a fast-growing sector in the world economy. It makes money, creates jobs, and brings in export earnings. The cultural and creative industries generate more than 2 billion dollars a year and in exports, it produces more than 250 billion dollars. In turn, it generates 30 million jobs worldwide, which includes between 15 and 29 years of age, more than any other sector.

At a time when the cultural sector has been deeply devastated by the pandemic, the cultural and creative industries possess untapped potential, capable of helping other cities recover economically and gain resilience in the process.

Graphic by UNESCO

Cities, Culture, and Creativity are based on world studies of 9 cities, ranging from Brazzaville to Seoul, which collaborated with UNESCO and the World Bank demonstrating how their creative policies have achieved socio-economically wonderful results.

The text highlights policy measures and interventions integrated into 6 areas that help the emergence of creative cities: infrastructure and urban habitability; innovation and skills; networks and financial support; inclusive institutions and regulations; uniqueness and digital environment.

This document provides concrete recommendations for short and long-term programs and investments that cities can use to recover from the economic effects of the pandemic, creating a fertile environment for the prosperity of cultural and creative industries.

This program is not news to UNESCO. In 2004 they created the Creative Cities Network, to promote cooperation among member cities, which have recognized creativity as a determining factor for urban development.

The cities practicing this program have prioritized the cultural industry in their local plans, proactively cooperating with the world economy. Currently, the network is made up of 246 metropolises and covers the following fields: Popular Art, Digital Art, Cinema, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, and Music.

Once they are part of the Network, the member cities are committed to sharing their good practices and developing links associated with the public and private sectors. The Creative Cities Network aims to:

  • Strengthen the production and distribution of cultural activities, goods, and services.
  • Develop innovative and creative poles that increase the opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector.
  • Improve access to cultural life, so that the most vulnerable groups of people can participate.
  • Fully integrate culture and creativity into the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

We know that creativity is an architect for good things and from eSmart Recycling, we applaud this initiative that seeks to rescue an important part of the global economy, such as the cultural sector.

It is hoped that this framework of action will be applied as soon as possible in different cities of the world through a set of pilot projects created jointly by UNESCO and the World Bank.



Carmen María Cermeño
Carmen María Cermeño

Journalist/ Digital Curator


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