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Srinagar makes it to UNESCO’s network of creative cities

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Srinagar: Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, was among 49 cities worldwide to join the UNESCO creative cities network (UCCN) on Monday.

The 49 cities were added to the network of 246 cities following their designation by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, in recognition of “their commitment to placing culture and creativity at the heart of their development and to sharing knowledge and good practices”.

According to a release posted on the UNESCO site, the network now numbers 295 cities reaching 90 countries that invest in culture and creativity – crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music – to advance sustainable urban development.

“A new urban model needs to be developed in every city, with its architects, town planners, landscapers and citizens,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

“We are urging everyone to work with States to reinforce the international cooperation between cities which UNESCO wishes to promote,” he added.

While Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU) had recommended Srinagar and Gwalior for inclusion in the coveted list, only Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital made it.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Srinagar Junaid Azim Mattu took to Twitter to announce Srinagar’s inclusion in the list.  “GREAT NEWS FOR SRINAGAR! #Srinagar has been inscribed as @UNESCO ‘Creative City of Art and Craft’. The only city from India to make it to the list!” Mattu claimed.

Pertinently, Mumbai and Hyderabad are already in the network, having made it to the list in October 2019.

With Srinagar City making it to the UNESCO creative city network under the Crafts and Folk Arts category, an official press release in this regard said it has paved a way for the city to represent its handicrafts on the global stage through UNESCO.

It quoted the Chief Executive Officer, Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project, JKERA, Dr Abid Rashid Shah, as saying that the process of nomination of Srinagar under the UNESCO Creative City Network was undertaken and funded under the World Bank Funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project. This is the recognition of the historical crafts and arts of the city.

“It is a proud moment for all of us,” Dr Shah said.

“World Bank, JTFRP and Department of Industries did a remarkable job in projecting the city in this regard,” he said.

Director, Technical, Planning and Coordination, JTFRP, Iftikhaar Hakeem, said that credit must go to JTFRP, Department of Industries and line departments for taking up the task positively. He said consultants were hired and work was taken up in this regard to complete all the requirements.

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