Monday, October 5, 2020

Cogan: Cities and International Organizations

Jacob Katz Cogan (Univ. of Cincinnati - Law) has posted Cities and International Organizations (in Research Handbook on International Law and Cities, Helmut Philipp Aust & Janne Nijman eds., forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
As their work has embraced the most critical challenges confronting the contemporary international world, such as climate change, migration, poverty, global health, human rights, and counterterrorism, international organizations (IOs), and particularly the secretariats that are tasked with operationalizing IO mandates and decisions, have resorted more and more to local authorities as part of their strategy to solve global problems. And as local governments have confronted those same problems, they have sought assistance and influence at the international level, including through the work of international organizations. Though these global challenges have existed for decades, and international organizations have worked on them for just as long, international institutions are increasingly recognizing that cities, as cities, serve an important role in solving transnational problems and that cities and international organizations need to work more together to achieve that end. Cities, empowered by their perceived importance and democratic legitimacy, are asserting themselves more and more internationally, individually and collectively, pushing their policy preferences and demanding a seat at the table. The moves toward promoting localized solutions and implementing urban-IO collaboration are growing, but the state-centered structure of the international system, which does not contemplate interactions between cities and IOs unmediated by states, has impeded, though not prevented, such efforts. This chapter will explore the trends that have led international organizations to focus on cities and those that have led cities to look to international organizations. It will then examine the type of city-centric work that international organizations engage in and the types of contingent connections and alliances that exist between organizations and cities. Finally, it will suggest that a shadow system has emerged that allows cities and international organizations to interact and cooperate, albeit unevenly and circumspectly, within an international framework that was not designed for such relations. Established to solve the conundrum produced by the misalignment of functional need and institutional design, the informal system itself presents challenges and provokes questions that require further research.