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Azerbaijani delegation attends UNESCO Creative Cities Network conference

10 July 2024 [17:57] - TODAY.AZ
Laman Ismayilova

Azerbaijani delegation has participated in the annual conference of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), held in the Portuguese city of Braga, Azernews reports.

The country was represented at the conference by the Culture Ministry's delegation with the aim of creating propaganda mechanisms aimed at expanding the export opportunities of cultural and creative industries.

Founded in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) aims to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

Themed "Bringing Youth to the Table for the Next Decade", the conference featured thematic sessions, sub-network meetings, a forum of city mayors, as well as various cultural events.

More than 250 Creative Cities from around the world gathered to celebrate the Network's 20th anniversary, emphasising the significance of youth engagement in urban development.

The conference participants discussed strategies to better integrate culture into sustainable urban development.

The discussions culminated in the endorsement of the Braga Manifesto, advocating for culture to be recognised as a standalone goal in the post-2030 sustainable development framework.

In his speech, Director-General for Culture of UNESCO Ernesto Ottone Ramirez noted that Creative Cities recognise culture's role as a driver and enabler of sustainable development.

"Through the UCCN Braga Manifesto, the Creative Cities around the world came together to recognise culture’s role as a driver and enabler of sustainable development. Today, they made a strong call for the integration of culture as a standalone goal in the post-2030 international development agenda. UNESCO invites its partners and intergovernmental organisations to join this common global vision," he said.

The Braga Manifesto charts a course of action for Creative Cities, building on the momentum from the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, where the MONDIACULT 2022 Declaration was unanimously adopted by 150 States.

Aligning with the Declaration, the Braga Manifesto outlines commitments across six priority areas to be implemented locally: strengthening individual and collective cultural rights; addressing the digital transformation in the cultural and creative sector, notably Artificial Intelligence (AI); harnessing culture for climate action; tapping into the economic dimensions of culture; protecting cultural heritage in times of crisis; enhancing the synergies between culture and education.

In future, UCCN focuses on expanding the global impact of Creative Cities through strengthened cooperation and advancing cultural agendas in line with the MONDIACULT 2022 Declaration and Sustainable Development Agenda, addressing contemporary challenges and opportunities worldwide.

The event participants were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the activities of cultural institutions and other government agencies in a number of countries.

The delegates held meetings with international experts in the field of CCI and industry representatives from a number of cities included in the network.

The possibilities of implementing joint projects to promote the export of products and services were highlighted as well.

At the same time, the meeting participants were informed about the development processes of the cities of Baku, Shaki, and Lankaran, which are part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Baku

Back in the early 20th century, Azerbaijan went through its first oil boom, and architects from all over Western Europe were attracted to the city to design buildings for the expanding city.

The result is a charming mix of architectural styles and genuinely beautiful buildings that line the city's traffic-choked streets. Baku's skyline has grown more cosmopolitan with the addition of modern skyscrapers such as the Heydar Aliyev Centre, the Carpet Museum, and the Flame Towers.

The modern architecture here perfectly co-exist with impressive examples of Azerbaijan's past. The Old City, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Shaki

The inclusion of Shaki in the City of Crafts and Folk Art category of the network is not a coincidence. The city has long been illustrated as the centre of crafts and folk art in Azerbaijan, owing to the alluring handicrafts made by the local craftsmen.

Since ancient times, Sheki has been famous for its sericulture and especially for kelagayi, a silk headscarf for women. In addition to silk weaving, here the dyeing of fabrics, the production of chisels, and embroidery developed.

Lankaran

If you visit Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire, you should definitely taste its tea. Lankaran is well-known throughout Azerbaijan for producing the best tea in the country. The subtropical climate of the region is ideal for its growth.

The first tea plantations appeared here in 1896. In 1937, the first packs of Azerbaijani tea were released. In Soviet times, Azerbaijani tea was very popular.

Lankaran is also famous for its rich and delicious cuisine. Lavangi, Lankaran kulcha, marji plov, white plov, pumpkin plov, and turshu kebab are the best examples of local cuisine.

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