GMF Cities looks for opportunities—across all cities and our entire portfolio of work—to add value through capacity-building for local participants to be part of solving global problems.  It is indisputable that cities and urban regions will be instrumental partners in nearly every societal issue that comes our way, from pandemics to migration to making an energy transition to carbon-neutral sources.  You name it and cities will be part of the solution.

Because GMF Cities sits at the intersection of working with local leaders and residents within a broader organization largely focused on international issues, we can serve as a critical link between the two and do.  Our commitment to all we work with is to be transparent with good information, helpful in making critical connections, and agnostic about who gets credit for driving the best ideas.

Certain projects are all about simply strengthening the capacity of cities to play in the international arena.  Such is the case for our new City Directors of International Affairs (CDIA) network.

Current Projects

City Directors of International Affairs Network (CDIA)

Weaving Local Ingenuity into Global Issues

Inequality, climate change, the integration of migrants and refugees, and the growing influence of China are just some of the critical transnational issues affecting cities in the 21st century. None of these can be properly addressed or resolved without the participation of cities. More and more cities are volunteering and being called upon to play a role in international affairs to help address these contemporary global issues. Cities in North America and Europe are taking on a growing role, or clamoring for one, in all kinds of matters. It is not just that the transatlantic societies are increasingly urban (over 80 percent in North American and 70 percent in Europe), but the line separating local from global issues has faded. In recent years we have seen the creation of many offices dedicated to international affairs in cities, professionalizing international engagement and building a key vertical connection that gives the local level a voice in a multi-layered global environment.

The City Directors of International Affairs (CDIA) network is a peer network of government professionals from cities across Europe and North America committed to furthering the contribution of local ingenuity to global issues and using the power of transatlantic cooperation to advance liberal democratic values. GMF Cities will invest in the development and growth of this network to support city government officials in sharing, informing, and preparing themselves to better advance local perspectives and approaches to global issues, as well as to articulate and shape the role of cities in international affairs.

(Photo Credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock)