In January 2014, Bilbao Bizkaia Design Council submitted Bilbao’s application to UNESCO, to become part of the Creative Cities Network. Twelve months later, on December 1, Bilbao was designated a UNESCO Creative City, in the category of Design. This recognition opens doors to international cooperation with other cities that identify creativity as a key factor for sustainable economic development, and endorses the promotion of design and the creative industries that are taking place in the city.
The proposal received the unanimous backing of the 11 cities that are already part of the Network in the design category: Buenos Aires, Berlin, Montreal, Nagoya, Kobe, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Seoul, Saint-Etienne, Graz and Beijing.
Like them, after joining the Network, Bilbao is committed to work together to achieve the development of creative industries and design through implementation of joint projects, exchange of good practices or the promotion of North-South cooperation programmes, among other initiatives.
Created in 2004, the aim of the Creative Cities Network of UNESCO is to encourage international cooperation between cities that invest in creativity as an engine of sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural influence, in the framework of partnerships including the public and private sectors, professional organisations, communities, civil society and cultural institutions in all regions of the world.
The Network facilitates the sharing of experience, knowledge and resources among the member cities as a way of promoting the development of local creative industries and to foster worldwide cooperation. There are currently 69 member cities around the world in seven creative industry fields: Craft and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.