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Bonn joins UNESCO’s "Learning Cities" network

Bonn will become part of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. The GNLC promotes lifelong learning with innovative concepts in cities and communities worldwide. In this way, the network supports the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the United Nations adopted by signing the Agenda 2030.

GNCL member cities are encouraged to expand their educational opportunities, exchange ideas and learn from each other. In addition to Bonn, 54 other cities from 26 countries have now joined the network - bringing the total number of cities to 230 in 64 countries. After Gelsenkirchen and Hamburg, Bonn is the third German city to join the network.

Bonn's Mayor Ashok Sridharan comments: "As a member of UNESCO's Learning Cities network, we will have the opportunity to share our experiences in the field of lifelong learning with cities from all over the world and to learn from the experiences of others. Inclusive, equal opportunities and high-quality education for all is the basis for prosperity and sustainable development in the sense of Agenda 2030. Learning is a lifelong process that involves the continuous development of one's own skills and competencies," explains Sridharan.

Professor Dr. Maria Böhmer, President of the German Commission for UNESCO, emphasizes: "Bonn is the city of the United Nations: More than 20 UN organizations based here give the education and science location international appeal". Thanks to its excellent networking, the City of Bonn can make a valuable contribution to the Global Network of Learning Cities and to the implementation of Agenda 2030.

Further sharpening Bonn’s profile as a sustainability player

The Bonn City Council had decided to apply for membership in April 2020 with the aim of further sharpening the profile of the City of Bonn as an internationally networked sustainability actor and to use the network to obtain suggestions for the further networking of Bonn's educational initiatives and offerings specifically for the goal of sustainable urban development.

On the basis of its Sustainability Strategy adopted in 2019, the City of Bonn would like to promote above all informal educational processes and lifelong learning on topics relating to sustainable development. In doing so, it cooperates closely with actors from the public and private sectors, civil society and non-governmental organizations. Some school classes and kindergartens, for example, are working with the Transition Town Initiative on a project to protect biodiversity. In the House of Education, a festival on the topic of sustainable learning is to be held in the future to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and experience. In addition, the Digital Academy at the Bonn Adult Education Center will be expanded to empower older people with digital skills and encourage lifelong learning.

Launched in Hamburg in 2015

The Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) was founded in 2015 by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) based in Hamburg. Every year, cities and municipalities worldwide can apply for membership.

They benefit from the exchange of lifelong learning strategies with other cities in the network, the development and sharing of knowledge regarding key challenges and solutions, and participation in training initiatives and regional and global events. The focus is on seven key priorities for the period from 2019 to 2021: Education for Sustainable Development; Equity and Inclusion; Education Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; Education for Global Citizenship; Entrepreneurship; Learning for Health and Well-Being; and Literacy.

Further information on the GNLC is available on the Institute's homepage; more details on the Bonn Sustainability Strategy can be found at: 

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explanations and notes


  • Giacomo Zucca/Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Tiefbauamt/Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Giacomo Zucca/Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Michael Sondermann/Bundesstadt Bonn

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