4th edition 2019-2020

The call for bids was closed on 18th March 2020. The International Jury examined all 81 bids. It decided to award 2 cities, give 7 special mentions, and award 2 individuals. Know more here.

The winners were announced on 29 May 2020 by Mexico City during the Executive Bureau of UCLG.

The Award Ceremony will take place in Barcelona on next 17 November 2021, in the context of the World Council of UCLG and under the leadership of Mexico City.

Category "City" 4th edition 2019-2020

81 bids from cities and local governments from across the world were received between 15 November 2019 and 18 March 2020. The Jury analysed the applications presented in the two categories between 29 March and 14 May 2020 and held its final meeting on 19-20 May 2020.

The Jury decided that the winners of the Award (in alphabetical order) were the candidatures “Network of Arts and Cultural Practices in Medellín”, submitted by the city of Medellín (Colombia) and “Ségou: A Creative City”, submitted by Ségou (Mali). Each candidature will receive EUR 25,000.

The winners were announced in the context of the Executive Bureau of UCLG on 29 May 2020.

Medellín - Colombia

The Network of Arts and Cultural Practices was created 24 years ago in Medellín, involving different artistic and cultural groups and organizations. The aim of the programme is to guarantee cultural rights for children, adolescents and youth. This community-oriented initiative supports more than 7,800 children and youth in the 16 communes and 5 townships of Medellín every year, providing them with opportunities for expression, exchange, learning, experimentation and enjoyment with a wide range of artistic, aesthetic, and cultural forms, including dance, performing arts, fine and visual arts, music and audio-visual. With this project, public access to culture in Medellín has increased by improving cultural infrastructure throughout neighbourhoods, setting up cultural training opportunities, and promoting specific programmes and offers for disadvantaged groups, in close collaboration with other municipal plans and programmes. Over the years, the Network of Arts and Cultural Practices has contributed to promoting and reinforcing Medellín as a cultural city committed to inclusive and participatory cultural policies
aimed at enshrining cultural citizenship, sustainable development, and an improved quality of life and well-being for all inhabitants.

Ségou - Mali

The project “Ségou: A Creative City” started in 2015 as an initiative by the Festival on the Niger Foundation. In partnership with the municipality of Ségou, the initiative has provided the city with a sound cultural policy focused on sustainable development. The implication and commitment of all cultural actors together with the local government and civil society in the implementation process of this solid initiative has helped unfold its main objectives, providing access for everyone to culture and enhancing the value of Ségou’s cultural identities -music,
design and fashion, visual arts, heritage and gastronomy- and artistic and cultural creation, by putting art and culture at the centre of local development. “Ségou: A Creative City” has contributed to professionalize the cultural sector as well, improving the working conditions of cultural and creative actors and creating synergies among cultural organisations, stakeholders and citizens. Furthermore, “Ségou: A Creative City” constitutes a suitable framework for collaboration with other African cities, and promotes the implementation of projects based on co-creation, co-production, exchange of experiences and sharing of good practices.

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

Chiang Mai (Thailand)

For the programme “Chiang Mai Centre Museums Network”, established in 2002. This initiative fosters local culture and citizen participation with a collaborative approach, using its organizational capacity and central location as “working tools” that promote access to municipal resources and thus mobilize the city’s cultural capital, including indigenous heritage, as a movement for change to build a better sustainable future.

Concepción (Chile)

For the project “Concepción Creation Centre (C3): a space for creative collaboration”, based on sustainable development”. This collaborative workspace is a boost to local creative sectors such as design, architecture, technology, music and performing arts, and an illustrative example of infrastructure conceived as a priority for the city to promote culture as a pillar of sustainable development.

Manchester (England, United Kingdom)

For the programme “Cultural Collaboration on Climate”. This initiative, which brings together 35 cultural organisations and festivals and is completely aligned with the ambitions of the city’s first climate change strategy, is helping to build strong leadership on environmental awareness, and has made Manchester a powerful example and benchmark for cultural collaboration and engagement on climate action.

Ramallah (Palestine), for the programme “City of Music”, an initiative that has contributed to the city’s natural turn to music as a factor of social transformation and development. “City of Music” shows how systematic work can create good conditions for the implementation of sustainable creative projects for the local communities, despite difficult and unstable political situations.

Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), for the project “Ulaanbaatar Public Art Week”, an initiative devoted to art and its relationship with the major themes of contemporary life, such as migration, the rural world and nomadism, ethnic minorities, democracy and climate change. The project is organised by Land Art Mongolia, an organisation which brings the specific context of the city and the region of Mongolia to the international debate on sustainable development.

Yopougon (Ivory Coast), for the project “Yopougon: Becoming an educational and creative city through social cohesion”. This is a sound and complete initiative that demonstrates the willingness of the local government to place culture as a pillar of local sustainability policies. The initiative has a clear inclusive and participatory component, with specific lines on the integration of youth into the cultural and creative sector, which has resulted in the improvement of the well-being of citizens.

“Leona Vicario of Mexico” Special Mention:

San José (Costa Rica), for the project “Computer Clubhouse, San José South: Girls Only: Comprehensive Development for Girls and Prevention Against Teen Pregnancy”. The Computer Clubhouse is a safe learning space focused on digital technologies that fosters cultural rights for adolescents in a context of inequality and exclusion. With the creation of the “Girls Only” programme in 2010, this small yet powerful initiative has proved that culture is key in developing the potential of youth to build democratic and peaceful societies.

Category "Individual" 4th edition 2019-2020

The winners were announced in the context of the Executive Bureau of UCLG on 29 May 2020.

Eusebio Leal

He has devoted his entire life to the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of Cuba and of humanity. Dr Leal’s distinguished sensibility, as well as his early incursion into public administration, allowed him to understand the scope and value of the cultural heritage of cities, particularly Havana, both for its citizens and for the rest of the world. He is Honorary President of the Cuban Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and Honorary President of the Cuban Committee of ICOMOS and of the Civil Society Heritage, Community and Environment; Professor Emeritus of the University of Havana and Doctor Honoris Causa in various prestigious universities worldwide. He chairs the Network of Offices of the Historian and Conservator of the Heritage Cities of Cuba. Throughout his professional career
he has promoted the embodiment of the public space as a cultural space, preserving heritage as a common good through the restoration and conservation of the different works and projects he has been in charge of, with special emphasis on the Historical Centre of the city of Havana. Havana is today a complete and absolute symbol of this effort. For Dr Eusebio Leal, the city is highly representative of all the cultural, intellectual, political, historical and social values of the Cuban people, and it is also a great memory of the architectural development that succeeded in making Havana one of the most important post-colonial cities in Latin America.

Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva is one of the pioneering figures of ecofeminism most recognized worldwide. Born in Dehradun, India, Ms Shiva is doctor of Physical Sciences, philosopher of science, ecologist, feminist and pacifist. She directs the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy (RFSTN) in India, which she founded in 1982. She is also the founder of Navdanya, a movement focused on women and dedicated to the promotion of biological and cultural diversity. In her defence of the food cultures treasured by indigenous peoples and their cultural and natural heritage, Vandana Shiva has explicitly linked issues such as food security and climate emergency to neoliberalism, cultural relativism, and the colonization and spoliation of traditional agricultural knowledge. In this sense, she has provided keys to place culture at the core of the global debate on humanity’s challenges. She has especially helped put women and girls, and biodiversity at the forefront of the fight to implement human rights policies, the Sustainable Development Goals, and other global agendas. Her approach to ecofeminism emphasizes  scientific knowledge and dissemination as tools to preserve biodiversity and the autonomy of food cultures, and to guarantee people’s cultural rights, including the most at-risk groups, without leaving anyone or any place behind.


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. 

81 participated to this edition of the Award:


The Jury of the 4th 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: José Alfonso Suárez del Real (president of the Jury); Lourdes Arizpe; Catherine Cullen; Lupwishi Mbuyamba and Ayşegül Sabuktay.

  • Jury 4th edition
    José Alfonso Suárez del Real
    José Alfonso Suárez del Real y Aguilera is the current Secretary for Culture of Mexico City, and he has a recognized career as a journalist and cultural promoter, as well as a vast experience in cultural public policies and Human Rights.
  • Jury 4th edition
    Lourdes Arizpe
    Dr. Lourdes Arizpe was appointed Secretary General and member of the United Nations Commission on Culture and Development at the same time that she was managing cultural projects in many countries of the world as UNESCO's Deputy Director of Culture.
  • Jury 4th edition
    Catherine Cullen
    Catherine Cullen was Deputy Mayor for Culture for the City of Lille, France. She is the former Chair of the Culture Committee of UCLG and is presently its Special Advisor on Culture in Sustainable Cities.
  • Jury 4th edition
    Lupwishi Mbuyamba
    Ethnomusicologist, educated in philology and philosophy, researcher and scholar, Lupwishi Mbuyamba, he is currently the Executive Director of the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa and President of the African Music Council.
  • Jury 4th edition
    Ayşegül Sabuktay
    Ayşegül Sabuktay is the director of the Izmir Mediterranean Academy, which is a unique organization founded by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in 2011 as a think tank and a democratic cultural platform.

See below the document of presentation of the International Jury of the 4th edition of the Award, as well as the Communiqué and the Final Report.

Ciudad de MéxicoUCLGagenda21 culture