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A Governance Alternative to Faltering Nation-States

Why a Global Parliament of Mayors matters now more than ever.
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The Global Parliament of Mayors

Let’s count down the list: There’s Brexit, of course; Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Venezuela, and the Philippines all look increasingly dysfunctional. Reactionary populism and xenophobia have risen to power in Hungary, Poland, and, astonishingly, the United States, with similar threats in France, and most recently, Italy after the defeat of Renzi. Strongmen such as Putin and Trump are deemed saviors of democracy or nationhood. The search for alternative democratic institutions capable of global leadership has never felt more critical.

Here’s the good news: On the weekend of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the launch of an extraordinary new global governance project took place in The Hague. With 70 cities and two-dozen urban networks in attendance, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen of The Hague hosted a convening of the inaugural Global Parliament of Mayors. This was an event three years in the making, and it resulted in the formation of an entirely new governance body for, by, and of mayors, designed to give cities a powerful global voice as well as an innovative platform for common urban action.