The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on Monday, included Srinagar in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing the inclusion as a “fitting recognition” for the vibrant cultural ethos of the old city.

Worldwide, 49 new cities have joined the UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN) 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, the UNESCO said in a statement.

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The announcement makes the Jammu and Kashmir capital one amongst the 295 creative cities network across the world. Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Varanasi and Jaipur are the other Indian cities in the list. 

UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

“The 246 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level,” the UNESCO website reads. 

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UNESCO designates the creative cities in seven fields — Craft, Folk Art, Media Arts, Film Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.

Every year, UNESCO seeks applications for various cities across the globe for putting them under its UCCN project. The applications in India are routed through the Ministry of Culture.

“This year four Indian cities — Kolkata, Gwalior, Indore and Srinagar — had applied to the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry, however, found the applications of Kolkata and Indore incomplete and only forwarded the ones from Srinagar and Gwalior,” Jammu and Kashmir’s Director Handicrafts Mehmood Ahmad Shah said. “

While the norm is to announce two cities from each country, only Srinagar city was designated as part of UCCN by UNESCO this year”.