The UCCN was initiated in 2004, with the goal of promoting cooperation among cities that have recognized creativity as a strategic factor of sustainable urban development. This network focuses on seven fields of creativity, including: crafts and folk arts, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music.
Consultation from cities joining the UCCN needed
For Hue City, the two fields that Hue is paying attention to and collecting comments to build a dossier to join the UNESCO's creative cities network are crafts and folk arts, and gastronomy.
For a comparison with Hue, Associate Professor, Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong, Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts, cited a number of culinary creative cities in Asia recognized as UNESCO creative cities, which are Jeonju (South Korea), Yangzhou, and Chengdu (China).
According to Ms. Phuong, all of these three cities are quite similar to Hue as they have a long history, which are living entities with a diversity of cultural expressions, and most of them have cultural strengths of gastronomy, crafts and folk arts.
In particular, Jeonju and Hue were both ancient capitals, with huge systems of tangible and intangible cultural heritages. These two cities preserve many cultural values of gastronomy, crafts and folk arts, the traditional costumes of Hanbok and ao dai bearing the identity of each nation. Therefore, right from the start, the choice between gastronomy or crafts and folk arts is often not simple for the cities.
“Therefore, the careful consideration of the choice between gastronomy or crafts and folk arts, based on reviewing the criteria accompanied by indicators with instructions in the registration form in each field, is a very useful experience for Hue to get consultation from other cities, especially Jeonju," commented Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong.
Assuming that the city has many advantages in choosing the gastronomy field, and if it wants to register to become a member of UCCN in 2025 or 2027, it needs to be implemented in a systematic roadmap right from now.
During the implementation process, it is necessary to consult the experience of Jeonju in establishing an advisory group or advisory committee, with the participation of representatives from the authority, experts, creators in the field of gastronomy, as well as businesses, to review the entire data system of the city in order to see whether it meets the strict criteria of the gastronomy city network.
Opportunity to enhance Hue's position
In fact, cities participating in the UCCN network are using their membership in two different ways. The first one is using the membership as a local branding tool to attract investors and visitors. The other one is building effective cooperation with cities within the network, contributing to strengthening the local identity. Both of these ways can be used at the same time, they interact and complement each other.
Building Hue into a creative gastronomy city is necessary, and the UCCN's criteria as well as the experience of cities participating in the network are an important foundation to help the city exploit effectively, optimally, and sustainably its unique and rich culinary heritage.
Meanwhile, according to the representative of the People's Committee of Hue City, Hue gastronomy and the traditional ao dai are two of the cultural values with both royal and folk imprints, which are being preserved and promoted effectively in Hue. This is considered the basis and foundation for replicating and sharing sustainable economic development models based on the preservation and promotion of folk arts values in order to best serve the need for cultural and spiritual enjoyment of human beings.
The participation in the UCCN has strategic significance, enhancing the value, role and position of Hue domestically as well as internationally. In the strategy to preserve and promote the tangible and intangible cultural heritage values of Hue, the goal of becoming a "UNESCO Creative City of Handicrafts and Folk Arts" will be a great potential for Hue to become a member of the UCCN in the shortest time.
At the same time, Hue will further strengthen its position as a large and unique cultural center of the country and the Southeast Asia region in terms of culture and tourism as well as positioning Hue cultural heritage on the world map.
Gastronomy is an important element of Hue culture
According to Permanent Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Phan Ngoc Tho, Hue chooses the gastronomy field to participate in the UCCN as this is one of the important elements of Hue culture, meeting the needs of the society, while creating opportunities to build economic growth models associated with developing cultural and human resources, and protecting the ecological environment.
In that context, the building of a strategic orientation on preserving and promoting Hue cultural heritage values in general, including gastronomy, is very necessary and meaningful in order to concretize the tasks, contributing to realizing the Resolution 54-NQ/TW of the Politburo with the goal of “building Thua Thien Hue into a centrally-governed municipality on the basis of preserving and promoting the value of the ancient capital heritage and cultural identity of Hue”.