Creative cities to drive inclusive economic growth in ASEAN


MANILA — Creative cities in the ASEAN are seen to drive economic growth and inclusive and sustainable development in the region, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday.

During the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum at the BGC Arts Center, Lopez noted that more than the recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to be part of its Creative Cities Network (UCCN), creative cities should channel innovation, trade opportunities, and employment, particularly in the grassroots.

“The goal is to channel these assets into innovation, employment, and trade opportunities, and mobilizing it to drive each of the economies in the whole Southeast Asian region,” he said.

“The ASEAN region has its creative strength in place, founded on the rich, artistic capital of its people.”

The trade chief said the ASEAN should push more creative economies that create higher value on products and services, as well as improve the quality of lives in cities.

Moreover, UCCN recognizes cities that identified creativity as a strategic factor for urban development.

It focuses on seven creative fields — crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music, and media arts.

Currently, four cities in ASEAN member states are part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network — Phuket, Thailand for gastronomy; Indonesia’s Bandung for design and Pekalongan for crafts and folk arts; and Singapore for design.

Lopez mentioned that he wants at least one city from the Philippines to be part of the UCCN.

The cities of Cebu, Makati, Baguio, Angeles, San Fernando, and Dumaguete are doing efforts to be part of the UCCN.

He added that being part of the UCCN can boost the cities’ tourism, and investments, and can also attract migration.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition is an initiative of the ASEAN Committee on Business and Investment Promotion, and organized by the Department of Trade and Industry and Design Center of the Philippines.

This coincides with the 30th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings here which kicked off Wednesday and will conclude on Saturday. Kris Crismundo/

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