The 3rd UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit was held on 17 and 18 September. For the first time, Macao was officially represented at the meeting as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, with Macao SAR Government Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U giving a speech to the event’s main forum.
Jointly organised by UNESCO and the city of Beijing, the UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit is an international occasion for discussion and networking, with the theme of the latest meeting being “Creativity empowers cities, technology creates the future”.
A wide range of urban stakeholders, including mayors and other policymakers, representatives of United Nations agencies, academics and other experts, innovators and entrepreneurs attended.
The special focus of the two-day meeting was the digital economy. Those attending explored how culture, creativity and technology can help improve urban management and nurture the development of sustainable cities.
The theme of the event’s main forum was “Creativity and innovation: A path to the cities of tomorrow”. During her speech, delivered by video link, Secretary Ao Ieong told the audience that since the designation of Macao as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2017, the Macao SAR Government had begun putting into action a pertinent plan of work for the ensuing four years which leveraged creativity as a strategic enhancer of the progress of Macao towards sustainability, in line with the goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Secretary Ao Ieong said the resumption of tourism permits being issued was the latest in a series of measures meant to restart normal movement across the boundary between Mainland China and Macao, as the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be under control on both sides. She added that while the COVID-19 pandemic had been a sweeping global challenge, she believed the ability to innovate and the application of technology were essential to riding out the challenges, capitalising on online and offline integration, improving the strengths of a city and reviving its tourism industry and economy.
Other prominent speakers at the 3rd UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit included UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission Director-General Xu Qiang.
Also present at the meeting, physically or virtually, were representatives from a number of cities part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. That included officials representing the Chinese cities of Wuhan, Chengdu, Changsha, Suzhou, Jingdezhen and Yangzhou, and officials representing the United Arab Emirates and the cities of Rome, Cairo, Helsinki, Buenos Aires, Dakar, Istanbul, Brazzaville, Bangkok, Saint-Etienne in France, Kortrijk in Belgium, Santos in Brazil and Almaty in Kazakhstan.
The 1st UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit meeting was held in 2013 and the 2nd in 2016. The Macao SAR Government was represented at the 2016 meeting as an observer.