The first International Conference on Learning Cities, which was co-organised by UNESCO, the Ministry of Education of China and Beijing Municipal Government, took place from 21–23 October, 2013 in Beijing. The aim of this conference was to mobilize cities to promote lifelong learning for all as a vector of equality and social justice, social cohesion and sustainable prosperity. The specific objectives of the conference were:

Adoption of the Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities and the Key Features of Learning Cities; and Exchange of best practices in building learning cities in the international community.