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Learning Cities and the SDGs: A Guide to Action
Place of publication | Year of publication | Collation: 
Hamburg | 2017 | 24 p.
ISBN 978-92-820-1224-6
Corporate author: 
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning(UIL)

Given the necessity for urgent intervention to secure a sustainable future, there has been increasing demand from member cities of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (UNESCO GNLC) for a concrete action plan on how sustainable transformation can be enforced at local level by pursuing a lifelong learning approach. The third International Conference on Learning Cities (ICLC), which took place from 18–20 September 2017 in Cork, Ireland, has therefore sought to move from the global discourse to the local promotion and implementation of lifelong learning to continue the support for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This Guide to Action draws on the results of the third ICLC, namely the Cork Call to Action for Learning Cities, as well as previous international and regional meetings of the UNESCO GNLC and existing UNESCO GNLC publications.

The three sections draw on the experiences of GNLC members and highlight actions related to lifelong learning which cities have taken to promote sustainable development in urban communities. These examples of good practice show the diversity of initiatives and reflect the manifold contexts and development stages in which cities operate. The subsequent questions highlight some important issues related to the respective thematic areas. Along with a selection of related Key Features and SDGs, this can serve cities as a basic tool to self-assess their ongoing activities and define their potential need for action. Every city will have to develop its own framework for planning, implementation and monitoring, with a selection of targets and indicators, responding to its particular environmental, social, cultural and economic challenges, and the demands of its learners.

Resource Type: 
Toolkits and practical guides
Civic / Citizenship / Democracy
Sustainable development / Sustainability / Environmental
Level of education: 
Lifelong learning


Lifelong education; Urban education; Environmental sustainability; Environmental sustainable development
Sustainable Development Goal 4; SDG 4