Montréal at the annual conference of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network
The XIII Annual Conference of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), attended by 50 mayors and a total of 480 participants from 145 cities around the world, was held from June 10 to 15 this year in Fabriano, Italy, a UNESCO City of Creative City for Crafts & Folk Art and renowned as a centre of fine paper production.
Demonstrating their commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the delegates engaged in dialogue around this year’s theme, “The Ideal City,” and discussed ways in which their cities are addressing the needs of communities by leveraging culture and creativity to map out innovative and inclusive urban development strategies.
At a mayors’ forum held as part of the conference, member cities gave presentations on the work they are doing to fulfil their commitments toward the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Representing Montréal were Benoît Dorais, President of the Executive Committee, and Marie-Josée Lacroix, Design Commissioner and Coordinator for the Ville de Montréal of the UNESCO City of Design designation.
Speaking to this attentive international audience, Mr. Dorais emphasized the responsibility officials have to leave an “ideal city” for those who come after them, and the urgent need to do much more to address today’s profoundly changing global context.
As Mr. Dorais explained, Montréal’s response to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to be found in our first-ever Agenda for Quality and Exemplarity in Design and Architecture. This is the strategy the City has adopted to ensure the systematic, cross-cutting incorporation of design into all of its practices and policies, echoing the vision and conviction expressed in the words “Our future by design: for a Montréal that is ecologically sustainable, economically viable, socially equitable, and culturally diversified.”
Bilateral and multilateral sector-based meetings held concurrently with the conference provided forums for the 31 UNESCO Cities of Design to exchange calls for projects, programs and best practices, all based on the following four themes: Design and Public Policy, Design and Education, Design and Business, and Design and Communication.
In the weeks since the delegation returned from the conference, the Bureau du design has launched four calls for projects (from the cities of Detroit, Courtrai, Bilbao and Seoul) on its platforms, aimed at the entire Montréal design community, and has begun planning a symposium with the city of Saint-Étienne, France, to be held in the fall of 2020.
The collaborations among UNESCO Cities of Design will continue at a meeting in Detroit, to take place from September 17 to 20. The cities of the UCCN will then meet in Santos, Brazil, for the next Annual Conference, under the theme “Creativity, the Road to Equality.”