UDC 352:341.7/.8
Biblid: 0543-3657, 64 (2013)
Vol. 64, No 1149, pp. 35-55

Original Scientific Paper

International Activities of Cities: Constraints and Opportunities for Development of their Public Diplomacy

Jazić Aleksandar (Ph.D, Research Fellow, Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade), jazic_aleksandar@yahoo.com

Cities and local communities are becoming more independent from central government authorities in international scene. Decentralization has enabled local communities to act independently on the international scene. This is one of the reasons why local communities have become important partners of central government authorities in international affairs. Many state problems have local origin and local communities are important agents in solving these problems. Sharing experience among cities from different countries has strengthened their position at the national and international level. Local communities have instruments to strengthen their position at the international level. In the cities strategies for acting at the international level, the development of public diplomacy is an important element. The position of public diplomacy in such strategies depends on the state constitutional system and available resources of the cities. Constraints and opportunities for the development of cities’ public diplomacy are much determined by their relationship with higher levels of state hierarchy. Mutual interests of different levels of state hierarchy and willingness to join efforts are the key factor that influences the development of cities’ public diplomacy. On the other hand, cities have got capital, experience and knowledge which are important for solving global issues. That is why cities are recognized as an important partner at the global level. International organizations are developing partnerships with cities and transnational city networks. These are some of the reasons why central governments are forced to include cities in foreign policy activities. In such circumstances, cities and local communities are very active in the development of their public diplomacy. This is especially important for the cities that generate a large amount of local incomes. Public diplomacy is an instrument that the cities use to promote themselves on the international level and thus generate more income.

Keywords: cities, local communities, constitutional system, intergovernmental relation, twinning, transnational networks, globalization, diplomacy, foreign policy, public diplomacy, ‘diplomacy from below’, international relations, international organizations