Ipoh hits all the right notes with Unesco 'City of Music' status

With the latest additions, the Unesco Creative Cities Network now counts 350 cities in more than 100 countries.

Ipoh now follows in the footsteps of Kuching, recognised as Unesco Creative City for its rich gastronomy (Photo: Tourism Perak)

Malaysia has joined the list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) Creative Cities Network (UCCN), with the Perak state capital officially designated ‘City of Music’.

Redefining its cultural footprint through grassroots movement, the former tin-mining town was announced one of the 55 new cities that has joined the UCCN, in conjunction with World Cities Day on Oct 31. With the latest additions, the network now counts 350 cities in more than one hundred countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.


The former tin-mining town joins 54 other cities in the UCCN (Photo: Tourism Perak)

In order to qualify for the network, particularly in the field of music, the Perak state government, supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, submitted Ipoh as a candidate. Ipoh now follows in the footsteps of Kuching, recognised in Nov 2021 as Unesco Creative City by the UCCN for its rich gastronomy.

According to a statement by the UCCN, newly designated cities will work with existing members to strengthen their resilience to face evolving threats plaguing the planet such as climate change, rising inequality, as well as rapid urbanisation. Nearly 68% of the world’s population are projected to live in urban areas by 2050.

“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,” says Audrey Azoulay, Unesco Director-General.



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Unesco's City of Music designation is part of the wider UCCN programme. Launched in 2004, the network includes cities that are acknowledged for their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies, and displaying innovative practices in human-centred urban planning.

An upcoming policy paper titled “The added value of the Unesco Creative Cities Network at local, national and international level” will testify to the leading role played by cities towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. This will also show ways in which Unesco supports the UCCN members by fostering dialogue, peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.

Newly designated Creative Cities are invited to participate in the 2024 UCCN Annual Conference (Jul 1 to 5) in Braga, Portugal, under the theme “Bringing Youth to the table for the next decade”. 

See the new members of the Unesco Creative Cities Network here.


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