The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities consists of around 200 cities in 40 countries which are united in their determination to promote lifelong learning and, through it, sustainable development in their cities.
Lifelong learning is key to building sustainable cities and societies. Cities are on the frontline of sustainable development, not only as the scenes of rapid growth and technological innovation but also of extreme poverty and inequality. So learning cities can be a crucial driver to achieve the SDGs. SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ in particular is the means to achieve this vision.
A learning city promotes lifelong learning for all. 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.
The outcome of the third international conference was the ‘Cork Call to Action for Learning Cities’ in which the attendees made various commitments to implement lifelong learning strategies relating to the Sustainable Development Goals in their cities.