ChangeNOW Summit 2020: UNESCO cities, innovative hubs for local sustainable development

Promoted as the “World Expo of innovations for the Planet”, the international Summit ChangeNOW,  held under the emblematic glass dome of the Grand Palais in Paris from 30 January to 1 February 2020, gathered hundreds of urban actors and solution-makers from around the world to share their experiences and responses to shape a better urban future for the Planet.

During the panel “UNESCO cities: innovative hubs for local sustainable development” held on 31 January, UNESCO presented its UNESCO Cities Platform (UCP), which unites 8 programmes and networks of cities across the areas of education, the sciences, culture and communication and information, accelerating the transformation of the way we build and manage our cities towards a more sustainable future. “The Platform strengthens synergies through a shared vision and actions among the Organization’s cities programmes and networks”, said Denise Bax, UNESCO Culture Sector.

UNESCO representatives illustrated innovative urban practices to highlight the Organization’s transversal work on and with cities and the cross-cutting nature of the UCP, intersecting cultural heritage, lifelong learning, natural resources management, creativity, technologies and social inclusion.  They shared concrete experiences from partner cities, starting from the rehabilitation of Pasing River in Manila (Philippines) and the urban flood management in Bangalore (India), to innovative educational programmes in Hamburg (Germany), participatory platforms for social change in York (United Kingdom) and the linkages between heritage and urban regeneration in Fez (Morocco).

The special guest of the panel, Ms Lucienne Redercher, Vice-Mayor of Nancy (France) and Vice-President of the European Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities (ECCAR), emphasized the need to re-humanize cities, by reconnecting them with the people who live there. “We need to unite before acting and think together to build the future”, she articulated during her intervention on the initiatives for social inclusion implemented in Nancy.

In line with the UN Agenda 2030, ChangeNOW 2020 focuses on 8 action areas to tackle the world’s urgent environmental and social needs – addressing issues such as clean air and clean water, health and food security, sustainable and accessible energy, biodiversity as well as sustainable consumption and production, global citizenship education and  well-being. It provided
an important opportunity for cities, partners and stakeholders to discuss and raise awareness on the most pressing urban challenges, advocating a people-centred and place-based urban development approach equipped with innovative urban solutions from around the world.

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