UNESCO has given Mumbaiites and Hyderbadis something to celebrate by adding their cities to its Creative Cities Network – Mumbai as a Creative City of Cinema and Hyderabad as a Creative City of Gastronomy. This announcement was made on the 31st of October, World Cities Day 2019.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was launched in 2004 to “promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development”. The Creative Cities Network includes cities that are active in the sectors of music, literature, media arts, gastronomy, film, design as well as crafts and folk arts.
The core objective of the network is “placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
While Mumbai and Hyderabad are both acknowledged for their contributions to cinema and food across India, now the world is acknowledging it. Mumbai’s film industry, which employs hundreds of thousands and provides entertainment to billions, and the succulent biryani of Hyderabad are some of the most prominent cultural treasures of this country.
This year, 66 cities from across the world were added to the network. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said while making this announcement, “All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy,” and “this favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations”.
Eric Fait, UNESCO’s New Delhi Office Director, welcomed this and praised all those who had worked on the nomination process. In a media statement, Fait said, "I would like to offer my warm congratulations to both cities. I hope this will strengthen the development of hubs of creativity and innovation, which will contribute to the sustainable development plans of Mumbai and Hyderabad."
To date, 246 cities across the globe have been added to the network, and now Mumbai and Hyderabad join the likes of Sydney, Rome, Phuket, San Antonio and many others. They also join other Indian cities – Varanasi, Chennai and Jaipur – on the list. Varanasi and Chennai have been recognised for their music while Jaipur has been recognised for its crafts and folk art.
This recognition was welcomed by prominent citizens, politicians and public servants of both cities. It is a great recognition for Mumbai and Hyderabad and we hope we see positive changes in them, and that the creative practices and talents in more Indian cities are recognised and taken to the world.
*The National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai by Disha Gala