These guidelines provide cities with strategic approaches for building dynamic and sustainable learning cities. They contain a set of actionable recommendations that can be referred to at every stage of the process of becoming a learning city. The documents are available for download in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

The Mexico City Statement on Sustainable Learning Cities outlines the role of learning cities in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and defines strategic directions and action points for building sustainable learning cities.

Download: Mexico City Statement on Sustainable Learning Cities

The 3 × 3 × 3 × 3 Youth Statement on Learning Cities outlines the ways in which young people should be involved in building learning cities. The Statement comprises three calls for action directed at UNESCO, three expressions of encouragement directed at local and national governments, and three commitments from youth to contribute to the building of learning cities.

Download: The 3 × 3 × 3 × 3 Youth Statement on Learning Cities

The UNESCO GNLC’s Guiding Documents explain the concept and describe the role of learning cities in sustainable development. These learning cities’ documents consist of the Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities and the Key Features of Learning Cities, which were adopted at the 1st International Conference on Learning Cities in 2013. The Beijing Declaration, outlines the role of lifelong learning in promoting inclusion, prosperity and sustainability in cities and makes a commitment to twelve actions for developing learning cities. The Key Features of Learning Cities provides an overall framework of key features of learning cities and a comprehensive checklist of action points to enhance and measure the progress of learning cities. The Guiding Documents are available for download in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

The UNESCO Guidelines for the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes of Non-formal and Informal Learning were developed to facilitate recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of all learning outcomes, particularly those of non-formal and informal learning. UNESCO Member States also committed themselves to establishing recognition frameworks to develop and improve RVA principles and mechanisms.

The UNESCO Guidelines define the key areas of action at national level in terms of:

  1. establishing RVA as a key component of a national lifelong learning strategy;
  2. developing RVA systems that are accessible to all;                                                                 
  3. making RVA integral to education and training systems;
  4. creating a coordinated national structure involving all stakeholders;
  5. strengthening the capacities of RVA personnel;
  6. designing sustainable funding mechanisms.

These core principles and action areas provide a template to identify the critical factors in the implementation of the UNESCO Guidelines, as well as obstacles and difficulties that need to be addressed to ensure RVA is successful. They also present a strategic direction for public policy planning with regard to RVA.


UNESCO Guidelines on the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes of Non-formal and Informal Learning (PDF 0.1 MB)

The purpose of this guide is to affirm the policy stance that multilingual and multicultural education should be chosen as the general education system in African countries, with a view to the transformation of African societies. The aim of this transformation, in tur, is to reduce poverty through sustainable development based on African languages and cultures. For this reason, it should be pursed through the programs of existing institutions, whose capacity needs to be strengthened accordingly. Such an education system not only offers equality of opportunity and success to all children, it raises the quality of the education provided because the learner’s own language is used as the medium of instruction, with the opportunity of learning other national and foreign languages. It also releases people’s creativity and strengthens social cohesion. In employing African languages, the education system helps to consolidate the decentralization policies adopted by some countries.


Download: Policy Guide on the Integration of African Languages and Cultures into Education Systems (PDF 3,3 MB)

This statement grew out of a need recognised by adult and higher educators, scholars and specialists in the area of adult and lifelong learning to build on previous work focusing on transforming institutions of higher education into institutions of lifelong learning.

It continues the work begun at the Fifth International Conference on Adult Education in Hamburg, Germany, 1997, continued at the University of Mumbai, India in 1998, and the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in Paris in 1998.

It was developed at the conference on Lifelong Learning, Higher Education and Active Citizenship from the 10 - 12 October 2000 in Cape Town which was co-hosted by University of Western Cape, UNESCO Institute for Education and the Adult Education Research Group of the Danish National University of Education.

Download: The Cape Town Statement on Characteristic Elements of a Lifelong Learning Higher Education Institution, January 2001 (PDF 159 KB)

The philosophy of learning throughout life is anything but modern. Ancient societies all over the world have emphasized the need to learn from the cradle to the grave. Today in the 21st century, we find ourselves anew amidst the loud voices proclaiming the importance of lifelong learning. What is clear is that the context of lifelong learning has changed and the utopian and generous vision hitherto characterizing lifelong learning has now become a necessary guiding and organizing principle of education reforms. It is recognized today as an indispensable tool to enable education to face its multiple current and emerging challenges.

Download: Revisiting lifelong learning for the 21st century (PDF 625 KB)