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Become a UNESCO Learning City

Why Apply?

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities is an international policy-oriented network providing inspiration, know-how, and best practice.  Learning Cities at all stages of development can benefit greatly from sharing ideas with other cities, as solutions for issues that arise as one learning city develops, may already exist in other cities. There are over 225 cities in the network in more than 60 countries globally.

The Network supports the achievement of all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, SDG4, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”; and SDG11, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities supports and improves the practice of lifelong learning in the world’s cities by promoting dialogue and peer learning among member cities, forging links, fostering partnerships, providing capacity development, and developing instruments to encourage and recognise progress made in building learning cities.

The Process

Step 1: Contact us

It is recommended that you contact us if you are considering applying to join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities to access the support and advice we can provide.

There is one open call for applications per year, from 1 March to 30 April, during which time cities may submit their membership applications to the UK National Commission for UNESCO. After this application period has ended, the National Commission for UNESCO has up to one month to send the endorsed applications to the UNESCO GNLC Coordination Team.

The UK National Commission for UNESCO can endorse applications from up to three cities per year to join the UNESCO GNLC.

Step 2: Preparation

It is essential that the City Mayor gives full endorsement to the proposal, as the Mayor will represent the city and sign the application.  To assist with the application, it is recommended that applicants read the Guiding Document published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, which contains the key strategies from the Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities and the Key Features of Learning Cities.

Read more HERE

Step 3: Application

Applicants must complete the Membership Form Application which is available on the UNESCO GNLC website. The form must be filled in electronically and must include the mayor’s signature. The form should be sent to us between 1 March and 30 April.

Step 4: Review

All applications will be evaluated by us through a peer-review process.  Independent pro-bono experts are guided by the criteria for membership and will recommend whether or not the UK National Commission for UNESCO should endorse the application.

Step 5: Submission to UNESCO

If recommended, the Membership Form Application will be signed by us and submitted to the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities Coordination Team, by 31 May. A copy will be sent to the City Mayor.

Step 6: Awaiting the outcome from UNESCO

The UNESCO review can take several months. Ongoing support is provided by us during the period if required. We will continue to support successful nominations from the announcement of the outcomes.

Key Information

Make sure you read the important information below before you apply.

You must apply through the UK National Commission for UNESCO. Expressions of interest are welcome.

STATUS:   Closed for Applications


FOR WHO:   UK Organisations



This accreditation is currently open for application. If you have any questions, get in touch with the UK National Commission for UNESCO via our contact form

Begin your application

Make sure you have checked you are eligible for this accreditation before applying. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Submit your Expression of Interest     

Accreditation type: Learning City

Begin your application to become a UNESCO Learning City

Submit your Expression of Interest