Acuto, M. (2013). City Leadership in Global Governance. Global Governance, 19, 481–498.

The growing influence city Mayors have on the global stage is clearly reflected in the Mayors for Peace initiative. This was started in 1982 by Hiroshima Mayor to tackle the proliferation of nuclear weapons. By 2005, during the NPT Review Conference, the Mayors for Peace initiative had reached 1000 cities, and released their 2020 Vision Campaign. By April 2008, when Mayors for Peace launched the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol (H-N Protocol) for nuclear non-proliferation, membership had grown to 2,170 cities in 127 countries. Currently, the group now accounts for more than 5000 members across 153 countries, and holds special consultative status at the UN Economic and Social Council. This is an extraordinary example of the influence non-state actors, and in this case, municipal politicians, can have to engage in international political arenas, and the power they can have to affect change.

C40 – Climate Leadership Group – 58 major metropolises committed to curbing climate change – great example of the influence and power of city networks!

This article provides a comprehensive overview (very brief) of different types of city networks, coalitions, and initiatives aimed at combating urban poverty issues, sustainable development, climate change, and a host of other issues. C40/Climate Leadership Group is one example. Another is Cities Alliance. This is a good article to reference when looking for quick examples of city networks and coalition building across scales of governance, and that rely on public-private partnerships.

Acuto makes the statement that:

“city leaders represent a fundamental bridge between grand narratives of international affairs and their everyday mundanity…an obvious sign of this is the influence city leaders have on the internal policies of states. Mayoral capacity to shape domestic politics is not limited to domestic matters…” (p. 493)

This statement speaks to a central issue within my own proposed research – that is, trying to tease out the role that cities have on international progresses, and more specifically, on negotiated water sharing treaties between riparian nations. If Mayors have the capacity to shape domestic politics, but its not limited to only domestic politics, might there be a role in the city (represented by the Mayor) to influence international water policy? Is there a bridge between the role of the mayor and the influence of that office and the process of treaty negotiations between states?

NY Mayor Bloomberg stated “We’re the level of government closest to the majority of the world’s people. We’re directly responsible for their well-being and their futures. So while nations talk, but too often drag their heels, cities act…when cities act locally, we can also have an impact globally.” (p. 494).

This illustrates how Mayors have expanded their capacities to tackle global issues like climate change, through “more effective urban policy making and transnational networking”. (p. 494)

This article outlines the increasingly influential role that mayors have in global governance processes, and their interactions in multilateral processes, crossing scales of governance, and forging partnerships with various actors in the public and private realm.

Come back to this article for examples of how city mayors are progressively and increasingly demonstrating how “central governments are no longer the only problem-solving units in world politics” (p. 495).

This entry was posted in Reading Reflections, Theme 1: Multilevel governance and resilience theory and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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