Skip to main content

Invited to the Party: International Organizations Evolve in an Urban World

RESEARCH Report by Ian Klaus
View of buildings on the Chicago River.

While dozens of international organizations were created to give structure and order to international relations, rapid urbanization and the rising influence of cities have raised new questions around their mandates and structures.

Key Findings

  • Use their access to national governments and departments to encourage and facilitate policy alignment at the national, regional, and municipal levels.
  • Develop systems, including pipelines and liaisons, for local knowledge building and effective communication.
  • Ensure their outreach engages with cities’ long-term strategic planning efforts.
  • Facilitate access to municipal finance, including through private sector and state engagement.
  • Gain insights from other IOs with urban expertise through formal processes and partnerships as well as informal engagements with diplomats and experts.
  • Identify whether subnational engagement is encumbered by legal or statutory restrictions or, as is also often the case, capacity or resource limitations.
  • Continue coordinating with cities’ and their networks’ established platforms to influence international agreements and produce immediate results.
About the Author
Senior Fellow, Global Cities
Council expert Ian Klaus
Ian Klaus previously served as diplomatic adviser to Urban 20 and C40 City Climate Leadership Group, and as senior adviser for global cities at the US Department of State. In those roles, he engaged dozens of foreign ministries and development agencies on urbanization and foreign policy issues.
Council expert Ian Klaus