A new partnership to empower South African cities through city diplomacy

The City Diplomacy Lab and the South African Cities Network (SACN) join forces to advance sustainable urban development in South Africa.

Over the past two decades, South Africa has emerged as a driver of city diplomacy on a global scale due to institutional innovation by its municipalities, the quality of its scholarly debate on the subject, as well as the support of national and international city networks.

Hence, South Africa stands out for the level of awareness that city diplomacy can and should play a primary role in the current conjuncture characterized by the acute local impact of overlapping global crises.

To enable SACN’s members to fully deploy city diplomacy’s unique political, technical, and financial resources, the City Diplomacy Lab has developed a tailored capacity-building program for them.

This highly interactive program is being held from June to August 2023. It will enable participating cities to develop their practical skills in making city diplomacy a cross-cutting municipal tool for sustainable urban development, with thematic insights related to just transition and economic development.

About the City Diplomacy Lab

Launched in September 2021, the City Diplomacy Lab is a special project of Columbia Global Centers | Paris. The Lab fosters the understanding and practice of city diplomacy, which forges international collaborations between cities to promote sustainable development and peace while providing responses to challenges such as climate change, rising inequality, and migration.

The Lab’s work, which includes applied research, capacity development, and event organization, has been officially recognized by the United Nations Regional Commission for Europe (UNECE) and awarded the designation of Center of Excellence on City Diplomacy and Sustainable Urban Development.

In addition to the UN, the Lab engages on a daily basis with multiple municipalities around the world, city networks, universities, and other international organizations. The Lab also benefits from the resources of the network of 11 Columbia Global Centers around the world.

For more information on City Diplomacy Lab capacity development programs, please visit this page.

About the South African Cities Network (SACN)

The South African Cities Network (SACN) was established in 2002 as a network of South African cities and partners that encourages the exchange of information, experience, and best practice on urban development and city management. Working together with South African cities and partners through research, knowledge sharing, peer learning, and innovation, the SACN is at the forefront of efforts to achieve the urban futures vision outlined in the Integrated Urban Development Framework [IUDF] and the National Development Plan [NDP].

The SACN’s overall mandate is to:

  • Promote Good Governance and Management in South African cities
  • Analyze strategic challenges facing South African cities, particularly in the context of global economic integration and national development challenges
  • Collect, collate, analyze, assess, disseminate, and apply the experience of large city government in a South African context
  • Promote shared-learning partnerships between different spheres of Government to support the management of South African cities

For more information about SACN, please visit www.sacities.net.