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
Ian Klaus
Founding Director, Carnegie California
Council expert Ian Klaus
Ian Klaus is a leading scholar on the nexus of urbanization, geopolitics, and global challenges, with extensive experience as a practitioner of subnational diplomacy. Klaus co-led and served as the series editor for the Summary for Urban Policymakers, a landmark report that distilled over 8,000 pages of IPCC science into 80 pages of accessible, policy-relevant material for urban policymakers.
Council expert Ian Klaus