3rd edition 2017-2018

The objective of the International Award 'UCLG – MEXICO CITY – Culture 21' is, to recognise leading cities and individuals that have distinguished themselves through their contribution to culture as a key dimension in sustainable cities.

The International Award 'UCLG – MEXICO CITY – Culture 21' has two categories: the City / Local or Regional Government Award, which recognises a city, local or regional government the cultural policy of which has contributed significantly to linking the values of culture (heritage, diversity, creativity and transmission of knowledge) with democratic governance, citizen participation and sustainable development, and the Individual Award, which recognises an internationally renowned individual who has made a funda­mental contribution to the relationship between culture and sustainable development.

The Rules of the International Award 'UCLG – MEXICO CITY – Culture 21' are available in English, French, Spanish, and Russian.

Category "City" 3rd edition 2017-2018

The Jury decided that the winners of the Award (in alphabetical order) were the candidatures “The Sustainable City of Lyon: the Charter of Cultural Cooperation”, submitted by the city of Lyon (France) and “Common Seongbuk Artist Roundtable: Local Culture Governance”, submitted by Seongbuk (Seoul, Republic of Korea). Each candidature will receive EUR 25,000.


The Charter of Cultural Cooperation has been implemented for over 15 years in Lyon, involving 27 municipal services, cultural projects and events, including those that receive the most funding from the city, which altogether carry out over 300 projects, actions and services adapted to the challenges of policies that connect culture and sustainable development across the city. Now in its fourth edition, Lyon’s Charter of Cultural Cooperation now extends throughout the entire metropolis of Lyon, including 24 municipalities.

The programme has become a powerful tool for cultural policy. The Charter promotes the convergence of cultural policies, in specific commitments, with each of the transversal local policies that contribute to ‘making’ a sustainable city: urban balance and solidarity, citizen participation, policies for equality and non-discrimination, memories and diversities, education and knowledge exchange, energy efficiency, environmental responsibility and social innovation.

Furthermore, the programme involves a continuous process of shared reflection, information exchange, capacity-building, project design and evaluation with all stakeholders involved, at different territorial levels and on a range of regularly-evolving themes.

Check out the video elaborated by the City of Lyon in the context of the 3rd edition of the International Award UCLG - Mexico City - Culture 21.

Seongbuk (Seoul)

The programme “Common Seongbuk Artist Roundtable: Local Culture Governance” began in 2014 in Seongbuk, a district of Seoul, and has become the most important community initiative in this area, involving over 300 people working together on the basis of cultural governance.

The Artist Roundtable defines itself as a network that works together for the coexistence and cooperation of the local culture. One of its objectives is the cooperative work with those responsible for the cultural policy of the city, through the Seongbuk Cultural Foundation and with the other public institutions with responsibility in the city.

The Artist Roundtable operates on the values and principles of ‘autonomous activity’ (autonomy), ‘cultural democracy’ (democracy), ‘friendship and cooperation’ (solidarity) and ‘respecting cultural differences’ (diversity). Furthermore, the initiative organises local festivals, manages cultural venues and contributes to supporting the artistic and cultural community in the area.

Special mention

The Jury also decided to make special mention of the following six projects (in alphabetical order).

These six projects are excellent examples of local implementation of the Agenda 21 for culture.

Dublin (Ireland)

For the programme “Culture Connects”, established in 2015. This initiative is based on people’s stories, wishes and experiences. This is a very solid, innovative programme that contributes to cultural empowerment and which has shown the importance of listening, learning and sharing with local inhabitants. It also proves that, where willingness exists, cultural policies can be useful to those who most need them.

Hamilton (Ontario, Canada)

For the programme “’Love Your City’: Transforming Hamilton through Culture’, based on the consideration of culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development. The programme has taken the form of a Cultural Plan, with a holistic and integrative approach to planning, which involves the community using a variety of engagement techniques, resulting in a ‘shared responsibility for culture’.

Montevideo (Uruguay)

For the programme “Cultural Policies with a Perspective on Gender Equality”, which has been shaped after in-depth discussions with the cultural actors in receipt of public funding and has led to very specific programmes and projects in the field. Its impact proves that, where political will and operational rigour exist, mainstreaming a gender perspective in cultural policy contributes to broadening freedoms for everyone.

Nablus (Palestine)

For the programme “Saving Cultural Identity under Occupation – Regeneration of Nablus Historic Centre”, due to the commitment of local educational, civil and municipal institutions towards the regeneration of the historic centre, in order to enable local inhabitants to remain in their homes and ensure the rebuilding of hundreds of heritage buildings and houses.

Novosibirsk (Russian Federation)

For the project “Novosibirsk: Turning the City into a Museum”, which promotes cultural and artistic activities in the city’s public spaces, the uses of information technologies and citizen involvement in specific activities.

Saha-gu (Busan, Republic of Korea)

For the project “Gamcheon Culture Village Project”, a multiannual urban regeneration initiative through the arts and culture, which has contributed to revitalising the Gamcheon village. The project has involved close cooperation among residents, artists and the local government, in an innovative system of democratic governance.

Category "Individual" 3rd edition 2017-2018

This category recognises an internationally-renowned person who has made a fundamental contribution to the relationship between culture and sustainable development. The award is given by the Jury, without an open competition process. The selected invididuals receive EUR 25,000.

The Jury has decided that the individual award be shared ex-aequo by two people (in alphabetical order).

Basma ElHusseiny
Biographical note

Cultural manager and activist. Basma El Husseiny is now leading the organisation Action for Hope, based in Beirut, that seeks to provide cultural relief and cultural development programmes to communities in crisis, with a focus on refugees and impoverished communities. She has been involved in supporting independent cultural projects and organizations in the Arab region for the past 30 years.

Basma was the Arts Manager of the British Council in Egypt (1988-1998) and the Media, Arts & Culture Program Officer for the Ford Foundation in the Middle East and North Africa (1999-2003). In 2004 she founded Cultural Resource – Al Mawred Al Thagafy, the Arab region’s leading independent cultural organization, and was its director until September 2014. In 2006 she also co-founded the Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (AFAC), and was a founding trustee until 2009. She also co-designed the Master’s Degree in Cultural Policy and Cultural Management at the Hassan II University in Morocco.

Basma is a UNESCO expert in cultural governance, member of the Arab Cultural Policy Group, previous member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Cultural Policy and Management, at the Bilgi University in Istanbul and the Egypt representative of the Arterial Network (Africa’s largest cultural network).

Patrice Meyer-Bisch
Biographical note

He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and completed a professorial thesis on Political Ethics at the University of Strasbourg, France. Until 2016, he coordinated the Interdisciplinary Institute of Ethics and Human Rights (IIEDH) at the University of Fribourg, and he currently chairs the Observatory on Diversity and Cultural Rights (an IIEDH programme established in 2004) and the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Democracy, at the same university.

He is well-known for his work in the field of cultural rights at an international scale, as the main promoter of the Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Rights (2007), the result of 20 years of work by an international group of experts, known as ‘the Fribourg Group’, which fosters cultural rights within the human rights system. Patrice Meyer-Bisch has conducted research in several European and African countries.

He has significantly influenced the understanding of cultural diversity and cultural rights as ways to achieve inclusive sustainable development for everyone and in all areas, through the effective implementation of the interdependency of human rights. In the context of these activities, cultural rights are understood, alongside economic rights as well as civil, political and social rights, as the basis, the ‘grammar’, the space for interpretation, for the development of all individuals and societies.


The award will recognise an original policy, programme or project that explicitly includes the principles of Agenda 21 for culture. The action awarded should count on, at least, two years of execution and have documented proof of the impact and the successes achieved. 

A city, local or regional government will only be able to present one bid. 

99 participated to this edition of the Award:


The Jury of the 3rd edition of the International Award UCLG - Mexico City - Culture 21 was made up of the following five members, all of whom are prestigious international experts with impeccable trajectories in the cultural field: Farida Shaheed (president of the Jury); Catherine Cullen; Lucina Jiménez; Eduardo Nivón and Eduardo Vázquez Martín.

  • Farida Shaheed
    Farida Shaheed is a Pakistani sociologist and former and first-ever UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights.
  • Catherine Cullen
    Catherine Cullen is Special Advisor on Culture and Sustainable Cities and former president of UCLG Committee on Culture.
  • Lucina Jiménez
    Lucina Jiménez is an expert of UCLG Committee on Culture and the current director of Conarte.
  • Eduardo Nivón Bolán
    Eduardo Nivón Bolán is a lecturer at the Department of Anthropology of the Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico City
  • Eduardo Vázquez Martín
    Eduardo Vázquez Martín is a poet, a cultural promoter, a publisher and a journalist, and the current Secretary for Culture of Mexico City

See below the document of presentation of the International Jury of the 3rd edition of the Award.

Ciudad de MéxicoUCLGagenda21 culture