UNESCO Global network of learning cities

The UNESCO Global network of learning cities is an international policy-oriented network that provides inspiration, know-how, and best practices. It was introduced in 2013. It includes 294 cities from all around the world so far.

UNESCO defines a learning city as a city 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; and
  • Fosters a culture of learning throughout life.

Learning cities can benefit from sharing ideas and arts with other cities, as solutions for issues that arise as one learning city develops may already exist in other cities. The UNESCO GNLC supports and improves the practice of lifelong learning in the world’s cities by promoting policy dialogue and peer learning among member cities; forging links; fostering partnerships; providing capacity development; and developing instruments to encourage and recognize progress made in building learning cities. The network supports the achievements of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but primarily focused on SDG 4 (‘Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all) and SDG 11 (making human habitats sustainable, inclusive, safe). 

Recently, Walangar in Telangana and Thrissur and Nilambur from Kerala have joined this network. Other cities that have joined the network are the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Durban in South Africa and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)among others. These cities were added after their nomination by the National Commissions for UNESCO in the concerned countries and the recommendations of a jury of experts.

Written by Shivani Mahapatra