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UNESCO’s Learning Cities conference kicks off in Incheon’s Yeonsu-gu

Banners for the fifth International Conference on Learning Cities hang in Incheon. (Yeonsu-gu office)
Banners for the fifth International Conference on Learning Cities hang in Incheon. (Yeonsu-gu office)
The fifth International Conference on Learning Cities, held by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, kicks off in Incheon’s Yeonsu-gu on Wednesday to promote lifelong education for sustainable and healthy urban lives.

Upholding learning cities’ green goal, the conference is set to be “paperless,” fully utilizing electronic documents. It is the district office’s effort to keep in step with UNESCO’s values and to meet its sustainable development goals, according to officials.

Under the plan, participants are given access to overall information on the conference by scanning QR codes. Conference materials will be available for download as electronic documents.

Participants are also asked to use mugs and ecobags instead of disposable products during the event. They are also required to use a self-diagnostic kit for COVID-19 before entering the venue, officials said.

“Breaking away from common practices of holding events using printed documents, we will use electronic documents that have become essential in the era of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ and intelligent informatization. We are looking forward to seeing all participants from in and out of the country actively joining the (paperless) activities,” the Yeonsu-gu office said in a statement.

For the safety of participants at the event, the district office in the western port city has undertaken a final field inspection, testing sanitary conditions of cafes and restaurants, according to officials. The office also conducted sanitation education for event staff and workers of 72 restaurants at designated hotels, they added.

The biennial international event will be held at Songdo Convensia for four days, under the theme “From emergency to resilience: Building healthy and resilient cities through learning.” It seeks to find solutions for lifelong education during the pandemic and in a post-coronavirus era.

Some 2,200 guests will attend the conference both physically and virtually, including former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and officials representing 193 UNESCO member countries and 229 Global Network of Learning Cities member cities from 64 countries.

A separate occasion jointly held by the Association of Daycare Centers in Yeonsu-gu and Center for Comprehensive Childcare will be held to offer children in the city a chance to experience climate change campaigns.

Yeonsu-gu was selected as a special education zone in 2012 after Incheon was designated as a lifelong learning city in 2003. The region was approved to join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in 2018 and was selected as a coordinator city for the GNLC World Citizenship Education Cluster in 2019.

By Jie Ye-eun and Lee Hong-seok

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Korea Herald daum