The Creative City of Design San José of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network organizes a virtual discussion on Creativity and Culture in times of COVID-19

In the year 2019, San José was nominated as a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a city of design. By joining the Network, this city has recognized creativity as a strategic factor for urban development, and the creation of partnerships as an essential factor in achieving shared objectives within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the context of the crisis caused by COVID-19, San José has the possibility of taking advantage of its cultural resources to find solutions for the health and economic crisis. The city's design sector can play an important role in the creation of jobs, the generation of productive links and the economic reactivation of the cultural sector.

The UNESCO Office in San José participated in the Virtual Conference "Josefina: Creativity and Culture in Times of COVID-19" organized by the Municipality of San José and Fundación Humanoos, which took place on the evening of 23 April, 2020. UNESCO was represented by Ms. Caroline Munier, Specialist of the Culture Programme, who accompanied the Mayor of the city, Mr. Johny Araya Monge, and the Minister of Culture and Youth, Ms. Sylvie Durán Salvatierra.

The virtual conference was an excellent opportunity to exchange information with key partners of UNESCO, such as the Culture Department of the Municipality of San José, the Ministry of Culture and Youth, and civil society organizations such as the Humanoos Foundation, on the main concerns of the cultural sectors of the city, the region and the world, as well as to make visible the efforts being made from all areas to mitigate the socio-economic effects of the pandemic.

The event included a Q&A session, which served as a showcase for the work that UNESCO has been doing since the beginning of the pandemic to assist the cultural sector, both in the region and globally. The inclusion of culture in post-crisis recovery plans, the promotion of culture as a tool for resilience and the building of alliances for the formulation of integrated solutions were some of the highlights of UNESCO's action, which can be highly applicable in the context of the city of San José, given the specificities of the local cultural sector.

Among the actions developed by UNESCO in the face of mass confinement are the campaign #ShareOurHeritage, which promotes access to culture, from World Heritage properties to practices related to living heritage; the campaign #ResiliArt, which provides a space for dialogue and exchange so that the culture sector can express its needs and generate ideas for its recovery; and the UNESCO Small Artists Exhibition, to encourage creativity among children to draw UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The Mayor of the Municipality of San José highlighted some measures put in place to face the crisis and the cancellation of important events such as TransitArte, for example, an open virtual handicraft market, virtual classes by the Cultural Center or a virtual electronic music concert for young people. The Municipality is also working on updating its cultural policy in the light of its nomination as a UNESCO Creative City.

UNESCO reaffirmed its support and willingness to collaborate with the governing authorities for culture in San José and is confident in the city's capacity to move its cultural sector forward, making use of the creative resources available to it.