In recent years, several studies have shown that the creation of learning cities has become an effective instrument in promoting lifelong learning in the international community, despite various challenges. A nation aspiring to build a learning society or develop a lifelong learning system may use the names ‘learning cities’, ‘learning regions’ or ‘learning communities’ to mobilise or encourage their local authorities. To facilitate the development of learning cities in the international community, a truly global network of learning cities is needed. UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), in collaboration with interested national, regional and international organisations and agencies as well as private sector corporations, proposes the establishment of the UNESCO Global Learning Cities Network (UNESCO-GLCN) to enhance and accelerate the practice of lifelong learning in the world’s urban communities.
The overall aim of the establishment of the UNESCO-GLCN is to create a global platform to mobilise cities and demonstrate how to use effectively their resources in every sector to develop and enrich all their human potential to foster lifelong personal growth, the development of equality and social justice, the maintenance of harmonious social cohesion, and the creation of sustainable prosperity.
One of the objectives of the UNESCO-GLCN is to develop a Global Learning City Index. To be reliable and instrumental, the development of the index needs to reflect – inter alia - a variety of principles, policies and approaches in building learning cities in the international community, including political will and commitment, partnership and networking, increasing learning opportunities, combating exclusion and enhancing social cohesion, promoting wealth creation and employability, as well as recognising and rewarding all forms of learning.