Urbanisation is one of the most powerful trends of the modern era. Since 2007, for the first time in history over half the world’s population lives in cities, a proportion the United Nations estimates will rise to two-thirds by 2050. Much of this urban growth will take place in Africa and Asia, but other regions will also be deeply affected.
The realisation that our future will be predominantly urban has bestowed unprecedented relevance on cities and urban regions in world politics. Over the past two decades there has been a progressive urban turn in global development policy, which acknowledges that today’s major challenges – from climate change to inequality – are concentrated in cities and that urban governance is essential to remedying them. The culmination of this policy trend is the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a dedicated goal on inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities and 169 targets that nearly all depend on the actions of local governments.
We are witnessing profound transformations in global governance, in which cities are transitioning from being seen as local problem hotspots or strategic sites for intervention, towards being active drivers of positive change. This book seeks to contribute to an emerging debate on how cities are evolving into global political actors engaged in taking on responsibilities that were previously the preserve of nation-states, especially in the areas of climate change, migration and sustainable urban development.
Author:Hannah Abdullah (ed.), Researcher and Project Manager, CIDOB
Borders contain and roll-out securitarian logic of control that embodies the potential of state power to produce social stratifications and regulate processes of membership and exclusion. Issue 122 of Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals offers two novel perspectives on the subject: a) certain aspects of the border regime are analysed that have had limited examination in the social sciences field – such as study of the effects of the EU’s so-called internal borders; and b) as bordering is garnering attention in various academic fields the desire is expressed to establish interdisciplinary dialogue about borders and their management regimes. Out of this dialogue, the border is addressed as a space and process that aims to regulate, monitor and condition mobility within a discursive framework that repeatedly reinforces security rhetoric.
Author:Ignacio Mendiola and José Ángel Brandariz , Scientific Coordinators
Cities are one of the “under-explored potentials” of EU external cultural relations. With the EU’s new chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, taking office on 1 November there is an opportunity to review the EU’s cultural diplomacy and give cities and their local governments real consideration as partners that could help implement the new spirit of intercultural dialogue on the ground and inform future EU policies and actions.
Author:Hannah Abdullah, Researcher and Project Manager, CIDOB
Can ‘no deal’ really be Boris Johnson’s game-plan? He must know that ‘no deal’ would be disastrous for the UK and he would not survive long in No.10 if he took the nation over that cliff. His likely underlying strategy is to keep the votes of the right together under the Tory umbrella by pushing no deal. At the same time he hopes to keep the opposition divided sufficient so that he can come through the middle and win a general election. The objective all along would be to maintain Johnson in power, not to do a no deal Brexit.
Author:Alan Riley, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, Washington DC
In 2019 the cards will be laid on the table. A great deal is at stake: the future of the international order’s institutions, and the democracy, dignity and social and labour rights many societies considered secure or took for granted. We will learn how powerful is the offensive to erode these principles, and how agile and creative is the capacity to resist. But opportunities will arise amid the fray. These are old battles but they have new protagonists and new ideas. The game will be played at various levels: between the major powers, between different conceptions of the international order, and between distinct ideas about society. The third of these contests will take on greater importance if forms of positive resistance to the advocates of withdrawal, hard-line approaches and self-interest are consolidated: principal among them are feminism – a major transformative force – digital activism, and the pride certain urban spaces take in their open, diverse and connected societies. The game will not end in 2019, but it will be a time to take positions and to define alliances and strategies. The importance of this year will not be determined by the end result of this confrontation but by the confirmation that basic elements of global progress are at stake. In 2019 it’s back to basics.
Eduard Soler i Lecha, Senior Research Fellow and MENARA Project Scientific Coordinator
As the historical perspective is missing from most publications on Development Studies and International Cooperation, issue 120 of Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionalsprioritises alternative critical approaches and a historical review of this subject, which has traditionally been addressed using the technocratic orientation of problem-solving and the neoinstitutionalist theory of interdependence. A set of works offering original empirical, comparative and/or theoretical contributions is therefore presented here. Taking a historical perspective they analyse the international regime governed by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), cooperation between developing countries (or South-South cooperation), between developing courtiers and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, and China’s construction of an alternative international cooperation regime.
Rafael Domínguez and Simone Lucatello (coords.)