Cities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar receive Unesco award

Jubail, Al Wakra and Damietta among 10 cities recognised by the UN for work in sustainability, health care and education

The Satorp refinery at Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Technip FMC.
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Saudi Arabia's Jubail Industrial City, Damietta in Egypt and Qatar's Al Wakra have been named among the 10 Unesco Best Learning Cities of 2021.

The announcement was made on Wednesday at the fifth International Conference on Learning Cities, held in Yeonsu, South Korea.

"Whether they are megacities or smaller urban areas, all of the awardees have shown how learning opportunities empower citizens of all ages when suitable policies and programmes are put in place," the UN body said on its website.

The cities were chosen for enabling "citizens to adapt to a rapidly changing world and acquire the knowledge necessary to act jointly to solve global issues," said David Atchoarena, who headed the awards ceremony.

Jubail, on Saudi Arabia's eastern coast, is the world's largest industrial city and home to more than 200,000 people and the world's fourth-largest petrochemicals company, Sabic.

"It has succeeded in upskilling more than 168,000 citizens through evening classes and much more," the Unesco Institute for Lifelong Learning said in a congratulatory post on Twitter on Wednesday.

Egypt's port city of Damietta, with a population of more than 330,000, was recognised for its environmental consciousness and work in health care.

“By embracing lifelong learning, Damietta has sought to promote sustainable development, develop basic skills among adults, and improve the overall health of more than 330,000 people,” Unesco said.

The UN agency said Al Wakra, with more than 90,000 residents, was becoming one of Qatar's largest cities with a focus on sustainability.

"Through learning, the city promotes sustainable development, advances basic skills among adults and improves public health," it said.

Updated: October 28, 2021, 11:50 AM