Macao is joining delegates of cities from around the world to participate in the 13rd UNESCO Creative Cities Network Annual Conference that opened yesterday (June 12) at the Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art of Fabriano, in Italy. During the major annual gathering of the network, aside from presenting the initiatives developed over the past year and plans ahead as a Creative City of Gastronomy, Macao also joined other Creative Cities of Gastronomy to sign a memorandum of agreement to enhance joint activities in a project initiated by the Creative City of Gastronomy of Shunde.
The Director of Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), and Macao SAR focal point to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, is in Italy to represent the city at the annual conference, which brought together delegates from 125 city members of the different creative fields of the network. Participants were welcomed yesterday at an opening ceremony, attended by the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Alberto Bonisoli, the Deputy Director General of UNESCO, Xing Qu, among others.
This year under the theme “The Ideal City”, to invite participants to reflect on what are the features of an ideal city, the program of the annual conference includes plenary sessions for all network city members held in Fabriano, as well as separate working sessions for each creative field held in different neighbor cities, along with a string of cultural events. Until Friday, delegates will exchange and forge new initiatives aiming to create more inclusive, creative and sustainable cities in line with the network’s goals and to contribute to implement the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Presenting Macao’s gastronomy, sustainability and innovation initiatives
Following the opening ceremony, delegates heard Senior Programme Specialist for Cultural Policies and Development of the Culture Sector of UNESCO, Denise Bax, present UCCN’s annual report, where the “International Gastronomy Forum, Macao 2019” featured among the only two highlighted events conducted among the whole network, along with an event of the Jamaican Creative City of Music of Kingston. The forum, organized by MGTO, gathered in January in Macao representatives from Creative Cities of Gastronomy, and aside from discussion sessions, it also included an outdoor cooking demonstration of young chefs from the different participating cities, and the release of a joint promotional video of Creative Cities of Gastronomy.
During a meeting of the cluster of Cities of Gastronomy, held on Tuesday (June 11) in the neighbor city of Senigallia, MGTO Director also reported in detail to delegates from Creative Cities of Gastronomy the activities developed by Macao over the past year. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes elaborated on the main initiatives conducted, those in the pipeline as part of Macao’s four-year plan to develop as a City of Gastronomy, and on how it fulfills the UCCN mission and corresponds with the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the initiatives presented was the upcoming celebration for the second year in Macao of the World Sustainable Gastronomy Day on June 18, with MGTO to conduct awareness initiatives, by disseminating through different channels the videos made in a campaign produced in collaboration with National Geographic, to showcase best practices on gastronomic sustainability in the F&B sector in Macao.
In addition, today (June 13) MGTO Director is among the guest speakers of a themed session involving representatives from Creative Cities in the field of Media Arts and Design from Senegal, Australia and Mexico to discuss about “Stimulating Innovation”, where Senna Fernandes is slated to share about Macao SAR Government policies, measures and incentive schemes to mobilize stakeholders to foster the development of cultural and creative industries, pointing out examples like the new mega event Art Macao.
Macao signs memorandum to boost gastronomy exchange activities in Shunde
On UCCN annual conference opening day Macao also joined other Creative Cities of Gastronomy to sign a memorandum of agreement with the Creative City of Gastronomy of Shunde to conduct cooperation in a purposely built International Gastronomy and Culture Exchange Center in Shunde. The center, which is part of the “Overseas Chinese Town”, a major new cultural and tourism zone under development in Shunde, has been created to provide a physical platform for Creative Cities of Gastronomy to interact and cooperate in joint activities. A total of 23 Creative Cities of Gastronomy agreed to sign the memorandum to join Shunde’s initiative.
Under the broad theme of “Creative Gastronomy – Food, Culture and Sustainable Innovation”, the different Creative Cities of Gastronomy will be invited for showcases and exchange in traditional gastronomic culture during international culinary competitions, exhibitions, conferences and outdoor food festivals to be conducted by the center in Shunde. The center includes a gastronomy museum, international conference rooms, offices, culinary arts demonstration, exchange kitchens and exhibition areas.
Next year, the 14th UCCN Annual Conference is slated to take place in the Creative City of Film of Santos, in Brazil. Meetings in the different creative fields will be held in between, bringing together city members at events such as the “International Gastronomy Forum, Macao 2020”. Created in 2004, the fast-growing network is formed by a total of 180 member cities from 72 countries in seven creative fields (crafts and folk art, media arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music), including 26 cities in the area of gastronomy. Macao became China’s third city to join UCCN in the field of Gastronomy, after Chengdu and Shunde.