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Cities and their global networks – reshaping global governance and international law?

17 November @ 6:00 pm 11:59 pm

The T.M.C. Asser Instituut cordially invites you to attend our dialogue and panel discussion to celebrate the publication of the ground-breaking Research Handbook on International Law and Cities, by editors Helmut Aust (Freie Universität Berlin) and Janne E. Nijman (Asser Institute). During the event, mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen will receive the first hard copy. A panel of city network experts and international law scholars will discuss the Research handbook’s seminal findings, followed by a Q & A and a reception.

Today, 54 per cent of the world’s population live in cities and towns, and that number is growing every day. Cities and their networks aim to reshape international life, for example by being at the table of climate change negotiations – including the upcoming climate change conference COP 26 in Glasgow – or by turning to the United Nations for support for their housing policies and attempts to protect life in cities against the aberrations of the global economy.


The role of cities in international law and governance is changing as well. Globalisation and urbanisation have affected cities and their relationship to the international. Within the context of the United Nations, for instance, the New Urban Agenda was adopted in 2016 in Quito, pursuant to the Sustainable Development Goal 11, which stipulates the ambition of the international community to Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. While the international has ‘turned urban’, cities turned global.

During an early evening event on November 17, we will discuss these developments first with the Mayor of the City of Peace and Justice, Mr Jan van Zanen. Mr Van Zanen has been active in transnational city networks in various functions and can reflect on these developments from first-hand experience. The discussion will then continue with a panel of experts who will shed light on the role of cities and their networks from various angles.

Preliminary programme

18.00 – Food for thought – appetizers & drinks

18.45 – Welcome by Prof. Janne E. Nijman
Conversation with Mr Jan van Zanen, Mayor of the City of Peace and Justice The Hague

19.15 – Panel discussion (Moderator: Prof. Helmut Aust, Freie Universität, Berlin)

Dr Marlène Siméon, Director of Operations, Policy & Advocacy of The Council of European Municipalities and Regions in Brussels – CEMR is the oldest and broadest European association of local and regional governments.

Prof. André Nollkaemper, Professor of International Law, University of Amsterdam, and the Dean of the Amsterdam Law School.

Q&A

20.15 – Concluding remarks by Janne Nijman and Helmut Aust
Reception