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Australia's UNESCO Commission endorses City of Gastronomy bid, next stop Paris

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The Australian National Commission for UNESCO has endorsed the City of Greater Bendigo’s application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Gastronomy.

The City will now forward its application to UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, where it will be considered alongside all other applications from around the world.

Each country has a UNESCO National Commission, which must first endorse a Creative Cities Network application before it can proceed to Paris. 

In her letter to the City confirming the news, Australian National Commission for UNESCO Chair Kylie Walker commended the organisation on its “well-considered, comprehensive and inclusive application” and praised its consultative approach, particularly with Traditional Owners.

“Bendigo has a long and deep multicultural heritage, which is celebrated through the city’s innovative and creative gastronomy, which in turn is helping to drive the region’s environmental, cultural and social agenda,” Ms Walker wrote.

“We commend your extensive outreach to a range of UNESCO Creative Cities globally and the meaningful partnerships you have developed through that collaboration. In strong alignment with UNESCO’s objectives, your proposal is founded on support for the Sustainable Development Goals, and has the potential to inspire new approaches to inclusive growth, both within Australia and globally.

“The National Commission in particular welcomes the strong partnership you have forged with the traditional Indigenous owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung, and Bendigo’s celebration of International Year of Indigenous Languages (including through the Indigenous seasonal calendar, which will help build awareness of sustainable land-use practices and the traditional cultural knowledge of the region).”

Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the comments from the Australian National Commission were very encouraging.

“We are thrilled to have our application make it to this point and to receive such positive feedback from the Commission,” Cr O’Rourke said.

“This has been a wonderful community effort right across the central Victorian region and our Traditional Owners, food and beverage industry, hospitality industry and residents have been a great support of our goal to become a City of Gastronomy.

“We have cleared the first hurdle by having the Australian National Commission for UNESCO approve our application. However, we know the next step and the application’s evaluation in Paris is the most challenging part of this process, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. We hope to hear in November this year whether we have been successful.”


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