Why Urban Diplomacy?

Urban diplomacy or city diplomacy complements the diplomatic relations of national governments and offers opportunities for dialogue and exchange, especially when bilateral diplomatic relations at the national level are strained. 

Cities have become shaping actors in international cooperation - not least because they are directly affected by events such as climate change, environmental disasters, and social tensions. They are often confronted with complex social, ecological and economic challenges and problems. But they are also the ones who find the best solutions to tackle those challenges. 

The "diplomacy of cities" recognizes the potential of cities to conduct municipal foreign policy and cooperate in international networks. In this way, cities can make a major contribution to the cooperation of the international community. 

City diplomacy enables:

  • communication and dialogue
  • knowledge and information exchange
  • cooperation on sustainable development and security
  • stabilization of economic relations
  • maintenance of cultural relations
  • international understanding and peacekeeping

This is done, for example, by negotiating and signing agreements and declarations, exchanging technologies and skills, and joining forces for projects.

Why cities?

More than half of the world's population now lives in cities. It is projected that this proportion will increase to 70 percent by 2050.

With increasing urbanization and the adoption of the NEW Urban Agenda 2016 (UN New Urban Agenda) cities are gaining more and more significant role on the international arena. Cities are directly affected by global economic, social and environmental challenges such as climate change, global health crisis, migration and integration. Therefore, cities have a great responsibility in addressing these challenges.

Particularly in the context where international relations are complex and understanding is problematic, municipalities can find constructive and pragmatic solutions given their similar perspectives and tasks and due to their proximity to citizens.

Urban Diplomacy Exchange at a glance

The Urban Diplomacy Exchange (UDE) project helps to raise the municipal potential for international understanding, peacekeeping and joint work on global goals.

The focus of the project in the current pilot phase is on connections with cities in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The project supports the municipal level in aligning their town twinning relationships professionally, in addition to existing representative and cultural connections, especially in terms of sustainable development. The cooperation between the cities is based on international agreements such as the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement. Within this framework, the focus for the exchange of expertise and the political dialogue is dependent on demand and is co-determined by the municipal experts

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