Multilateralism Restored? City Diplomacy | in the COVID-19 Era

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Anthony F. Pipa Brookings Institution Washington, DC USA

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Max Bouchet Brookings Institution Washington, DC USA

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As the 75th anniversary of the United Nations occurs during one of the worst health and economic crises in modern history, multilateralism is weakened by the renewed unilateralism of major powers. International co-operation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has been limited. This mirrors similar gridlock in collective responses to migration, climate change and humanitarian situations. Meanwhile, cities have been filling gaps in leadership. In responding to the pandemic, cities have been leveraging global co-operation to ensure a successful immediate response and shape the economic recovery. Yet as cities have attempted to insert an urban voice into the traditional multilateral system on global challenges, they have struggled to influence global policy-making. This essay examines how the COVID-19 crisis exposes the implications for the multilateral system of the growing role of cities, and how cities and their networks can adjust their current activities to maximise progress in addressing transnational challenges.

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