Ipoh set to hit a new groove with Unesco 'City of Music' status

An Orang Asli traditional dance group from Pos Raya, Simpai Pulai, Perak performing at cultural concert in Ipoh in Dec 2018. Ipoh has been officially announced as a music city by the Unesco Creative Cities Network. Photo: The Star/Filepic

Liverpool, Havana, Kansas City, Kingston, Adelaide, Seville, Kinshasa, Abu Dhabi, Glasgow, Tallinn, and Port of Spain are just some the vibrant, diverse and colourful music cities found in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) Creative Cities Network (UCCN) list.

Malaysia is now joining that list with the Perak state capital Ipoh officially designated "City of Music" by the UCCN.

According a statement by Unesco on its official website, Ipoh is one of the 55 new cities that has joined the UCCN list, announced in conjunction with World Cities Day on Oct 31.

To be recognised and be part of the UCCN network (in the field of music), the Perak state government - with Federal Government support through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture - prepared a dossier and submitted Ipoh as a candidate (City of Music) to Unesco in August this year.

"The cities in our Creative Cities Network are leading the way when it comes to enhancing access to culture and galvanising the power of creativity for urban resilience and development," said Audrey Azoulay, Unesco director-general.

The statement read new cities were acknowledged for their strong commitment towards harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies, and displaying innovative practices in human-centered urban planning.

"Anchored in its illustrious mining legacy, Ipoh is redefining its cultural footprint through grassroots movements, giving rise to a pulsating musical arena and dynamic subcultures," outlines a statement from Think City, an impact organisation in Malaysia dedicated to making cities more liveable and sustainable.

With the latest additions, the UCCN programme now counts 350 cities in more than 100 countries.

Newly designated cities will cooperate with network members to strengthen their resilience in the face of evolving threats such as climate change, rising inequality, as well as rapid urbanisation, with 68 per cent of the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050.

An upcoming policy paper ("The Added Value Of The Unesco Creative Cities Network At Local, National And International Level") will also demonstrate ways in which Unesco supports the UCCN members by fostering dialogue, peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.

"The newly designated creative cities are invited to participate in the 2024 UCCN Annual Conference (from July 1 until July 5, 2024) in Braga, Portugal under the theme "Bringing Youth To The Table For The Next Decade," added the statement.

Unesco's City of Music designation is part of the wider UCCN programme. The network, launched in 2004, has member cities in seven creative fields (Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music).

Ipoh follows in the footsteps of Kuching, Sarawak, which was recognised in Nov 2021 by the UCCN for its rich gastronomy.

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Ipoh , Malaysia , UCCN , music , UNESCO , city


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