Publication date:
Agustí Fernández de Losada, Senior researcher and director of the Global Cities Programme, CIDOB and Marta Galceran-Vercher Part-time Lecturer in International Relations, Pompeu Fabra University

Cities have been advocating for a seat at the global table for decades. They are part and parcel of the international system, yet they remain structurally powerless and virtually invisible under international law. Global governance structures have been designed by and for nation-states, and they leave little room for the involvement of other stakeholders, including local governments. Since the 1990s, some advances have been made in formalising the role of cities in the architecture of global and regional governance, especially within the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). Yet, for the most part, they remain more symbolic than effective, and the system is crying out for thorough reform.