October 12, 2017
For immediate release:
Today the U.S. Department of State issued a news release that at the end of 2018 the United States will withdraw from UNESCO – the United Nations organization that promotes awareness of world heritage and supports educational, scientific, and cultural collaborations between countries.
In December of 2015, Tucson, Arizona was designated by UNESCO as a Creative City of Gastronomy. We are proud for our community to be part of the Creative Cities Network of 116 cities in 54 nations who are recognized for using creativity as a strategy for sustainable development and are building partnerships and sharing best practices. A nonprofit board of directors representing a diverse cross-section of local stakeholders is managing Tucson’s designation in a collaborative approach for broad community benefits.
The designation does not bring any outside funding, but our involvement with UNESCO has resulted in great benefits for our community. In just the past 12 months alone, media from around the world have visited our community, in great part because of our designation from UNESCO, resulting in media coverage valued at over $30 million dollars. In addition, statistics for the region’s food economy show more rapid growth in jobs, businesses, and tax revenues than in most other economic sectors since the designation. The recognition by UNESCO has also increased awareness and appreciation for Tucson’s 4,000-year agricultural heritage, unique food traditions and thriving food scene, and many innovative food-related programs, policies and research initiatives that make this community an international model.
We are encouraged by statements today by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressing the value of partnerships with UNESCO. The nonprofit Tucson City of Gastronomy will continue to collaborate with other Creative Cities in the U.S. and around the world. The nonprofit board will also continue to work with the City of Tucson, Visit Tucson, and many other community partners to leverage the UNESCO designation for sustainable economic and community development.
The Tucson City of Gastronomy board is confident that UNESCO will maintain its involvement in the U.S.A. to continue its objective to foster collaborations among Creative Cities.
Header image by Jeff Smith.