Global cities and Networks of Global Environmental Governance Sofie Bouteligier Research Group on Global Environmental Governance University

of Leuven

Paper presented at the 49th annual Convention of the International Studies Association, March 2008 San Francisco, USA

Abstract In the last decades an extensive literature on the key role played by major cities in economic, political and cultural globalization has emerged. Cities are conceptualized as strategic places in global networks, as sites from which important actors (state, civil society and market) operate and where vital knowledge, infrastructure and services are concentrated. The significance of cities for tackling global environmental challenges urges us to investigate organizational forms through which cities can matter in global environmental politics. Departing from Castells’ macrosociological theory on the Network Society this paper explores the functioning of six city networks of global environmental governance. Within and between these networks norms and practices are spread in various ways. Furthermore, the paper formulates some questions and dilemmas on how to evaluate and value these networks.

Introduction In 2008, for the first time, more than half of the world’s population will live in urban areas (United Nations 2008: 1). As a consequence, increasing attention is paid to cities and their role in the tackling of global challenges (UN-HABITAT 2006; Worldwatch Institute 2007). It is clear, that these places do not only represent sources of problems (Newman 2006; Bai 2007), but also offer opportunities to find solutions that can be of global importance (Satterthwaite 1997; UNHABITAT 2006; UNFPA 2007).

A growing literature is currently focusing on the key role played by major cities in processes of economic, political and cultural globalization. These scholars do not approach cities as closed entities – i.e. they do not investigate specific problems of particular cities within territorial or jurisdictional boundaries, but analyze cities in their relationship to globalization processes. Cities are conceptualized as strategic places in global networks, as sites from which important actors


(state, civil society and market) operate and where vital knowledge, infrastructure and services are concentrated. Therefore, these cities are conceptualized as world cities or global cities (e.g. Friedmann and Wolff 1982 ; Sassen 2001; Castells 2002; Taylor 2004).

Departing from the attention that is now paid to cities’ position in global politics, I am conducting research on whether and to what extend cities can and do play a significant role in global environmental governance. In particular, I focus on one organizational form through which cities can matter: city networks.

The paper is structured as follows: first, the position of cities and city networks in global governance will be introduced. Second, I will clarify the theoretical and conceptual framework that is at the core of my research. A third part will explain the functioning of the selected city networks. Finally, I will formulate some future dilemmas linked to this research.

Cities, city networks and global governance In the last decades, a multi-level and multi-actor governance architecture has developed. Other than the state, the private sector and civil society – in their diverse representations – are now involved in governance in order to deal appropriately with increasingly complex and often transboundary problems (Held 2004: 73-88; Scholte 2005:185-223). The sharing of responsibilities with other actors does not make the state less important or influential, but rather points to a transformation of its role (Held 2004: 73-88; Scholte 2005: 185-223). According to Manuel Castells, states have become one node in a network of power (Castells 2000: 355-366). Governance networks directed at the development of global public policy or the setting of norms, codes and the establishment of standards now incorporate international governmental organizations (IGOs), states, regional and local governments, local and global NGOs, financial institutions, private companies, …. The relative importance and roles of these various actors and levels can differ and alter (Biermann 2006).

Cities are also playing a progressively more important role in the international arena (Borja and Castells 1997: 203-233). With Agenda 21, the United Nations explicitly attached importance to local governments and actors and in 2004 United Cities and Local Governments 1 was recognized

On May 5 2004 a new unified world organization was created in Paris. The International Union of Local Authorities (°1913) and the World Federation of United Towns and Cities (°1957) were consolidated into the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The World Association of Major Metropolises (Metropolis) acts as the metropolitan section of UCLG.


as “an advisory body on governance matters” (United Nations 2004: 51-52). Not only has consultation and collaboration between international organizations and cities evolved, but so has cooperation between cities themselves through the creation of inter-city networks. Increased urbanization creates challenges, which may vary between different cities, but also show similarities and demand cooperation and joint action on a global scale. Various networks have been and are being developed at all levels: nationally (e.g. National League of Cities in the U.S.), regionally (e.g. Asian Network of Major Cities 21) and globally (e.g. United Cities and Local Governments). And these networks have a variety of objectives and goals: tackling social issues (e.g. Cities Alliance-Cities without Slums), creating an information society free of digital divide (e.g. Global Cities Dialogue), promoting peace, mutual respect and understanding (e.g. Sister Cities International-Global citizen diplomacy network), etc. The main objective of these networks is to deal more efficiently with common urban concerns.

Ensuring urban environmental sustainability is one of these major common urban challenges (UN-HABITAT 2006). It relates to questions of waste and water management, air pollution, energy, transport and urban sprawl (Satterthwaite 1997; Hardoy, Mitlin, and Satterthwaite 2006: 87-148). Urban environmental sustainability is not just a matter of local politics. As growing centers of population and activity, cities contribute significantly to global environmental problems. They are, for example, responsible for 75% of the world’s energy consumption and 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions ( At the same time, cities are affected in a very specific way by global environmental change. The Urban Heat Island effect is just one illustration. Urban environmental governance is very complicated and challenging for both cities in the global North and cities in the global South (Satterthwaite 1997). Finding a balance between social, economic and ecological demands is more easily said than done. Cooperation among cities worldwide could therefore, ideally, enable cities to develop and implement appropriate policies. One way to categorize the city networks of global environmental governance that have been established up to now, is based on the type of actor that has initiated them 2 . Networks are launched by IGOs, cities and non-governmental and private actors. They encompass a group of cities that want to better handle environmental problems and, therefore, exchange best practices, knowledge, experiences, … In addition, other actors, such as financial institutions, academia, global companies, NGOs, … are involved in order to assist the cities technically and financially 3 .

2 3

For an overview of other categorizations, see Keiner and Kim 2007. Financial assistance occurs in two ways: the private sector is engaged to fund the networks or to arrange financial mechanisms in order to allow cities that not have sufficient starting capital, to engage in projects.


The increased involvement of cities in global governance can be situated in the ‘glocalization’ debate. Glocalization points to the linkages between the local and the global. In line with the subsidiarity principle, local governments are assigned greater responsibilities in tackling global problems, as policies have to be carried out at the most appropriate level. Glocalization means “placing emphasis on the urban setting and the management-coordination-promotion role of local governments in the implementation of policies which take into account and adopt stances with respect to global terms of reference. In short, globalization plus proximity” (Borja and Castells 1997: 214). According to this definition, glocalization encompasses two approaches towards the role of cities in global politics: cities are assigned a role as urban setting and a role as local government.

Focusing on cities and global governance, doesn’t mean that the national state will not be taken into account. Several scholars have indeed pointed out the remaining importance of the national state (e.g. Brenner 1999). Moreover, it is not always possible to clearly distinguish between the national state and the city government. Cities, although they cooperate transnationally, remain embedded in a national context and the national state can be involved in city networks in a direct and indirect way. For instance, the national state, in the form of government agencies, can be an official partner in a network. More indirectly, the national state can influence a network’s functioning by creating the environment within which it operates. This can influence the possibilities of a city to engage in a network or to function as a platform for actors of global environmental governance.

By conducting this research on a small amount of city networks of global environmental governance, I seek to enhance our understanding of these networks and examine whether the optimism about this innovative governance form (e.g. Castells 2000: 16) is justifiable.

Theorizing global cities The publications of sociologists Manuel Castells 4 and Saskia Sassen 5 make up the core of the theoretical and conceptual framework. Both scholars put cities at the centre of their work and


For several decades Manuel Castells has contributed to urban sociology with theoretical thinking and empirical research, sometimes in collaboration with urban geographers such as Peter Hall and Jordi Borja. With the neomarxist The Urban Question (1977) Castells started to reframe thinking on cities. The Informational City (1989) already dealt with the major themes of his trilogy on the Information Society, a work I will refer to further in this paper. An extensive description of Castells work on cities can be found in


conceptualize contemporary globalization as a new, unprecedented phase in human history. They look at the materialization of globalization processes and focus on the functioning of cities as strategic sites for the global economy. Their work is of importance since they put forward new units of analysis and concepts for analyzing cities and globalization processes.

Manuel Castells states in his trilogy The Information Age: economy, society and culture (Castells 2000, 2000, 2004) that our contemporary, globalizing society is a Network Society, which differs fundamentally from the previous Industrial Society. For Castells the Information Age – as he calls the contemporary historical phase – and its Network Society are qualitatively unprecedented as the pace, density and scale of global linkages distinguishes globalization from previous developments towards an increased internationalization. Therefore, the analysis of this society should be based on new concepts and new units of analysis: networks, flows, nodes and hubs.

Because of the revolution in information and communication technologies and a set of historical events in the 1960s and 1970s 6 , information networks have become the “predominant organizational form” which caused a fast and structural transformation of society (Castells 2000: 16). The main advantages of networks – in comparison to vertical hierarchies – are their flexibility, scalability and survivability. Flexibility refers to the ability of networks to “reconfigure according to changing environments, keeping their goals while changing their components” (Castells 2004: 5-6). Scalability means that the networks “can expand or shrink in size with little disruption” (Castells 2004: 5-6). Lastly, networks are characterized by survivability, because “they have no center, and can operate in a wide range of configurations”, they “can resist attacks on their nodes and codes because the codes of the network are contained in multiple nodes that can reproduce the instructions and find new ways to perform” (Castells 2004: 5-6). Flows – flows of capital, information, technology, organizational interaction, images,

The Castells reader on cities and social theory (Susser 2002). Analyses of his work are offered in several publications (e.g. Saunders 1981; Allen 1999; Orum and Chen 2003; Stalder 2006). 5 Saskia Sassen’s research focuses on immigration, cities and states in relation to dynamics of the global economy. She is widely known for her work on global cities, which has been published from the 1980s onwards. Her two best known books related to this topic are the 1994 Cities in a World Economy and The Global City: New York, London and Tokyo, which was first published in 1991 and fully updated in 2001. 6 This set of historical events consists of (Castells 2000: 16): - the restructuration of capitalism to an emphasis on deregulation and liberalization - the failed restructuration of statism as it cannot adapt itself to informationalism - the countercultural social movements of the 1960s and the resulting influence of libertarian ideology - the development of a new media system, enclosing cultural expressions in a global/local, interactive hypertext


symbols, … – circulate and interact within a network (Castells 2004: 36). Our society is constructed around these flows, because they “are the expression of processes dominating our economic, political and social life” (Castells 2000: 442). Castells defines the space of flows as “the technological and organizational possibility of organizing the simultaneity of social practices without geographical contiguity” (Castells 2000: 14). The space of flows is placeless in its structural logic (Castells 2000: 442-443) and is distinguished from another spatial form of organization: the space of places. By place, Castells means “a locale whose form, function, and meaning are self-contained within the boundaries of physical contiguity” (Castells 2000: 453). This distinction between the space of flows and the space of places also relates to the difference between those that are connected to global networks and are part of the space of flows and those that are not part of a global network and for whom the space of places is their social environment. For Castells, the space of flows dominates the space of places as “function and power in our societies are organized in the space of flows” (Castells 2000: 458). However, the same actors can be present both in the space of places and in the space of flows. In The Greening of the Self: The Environmental Movement (Castells 2000: 168-191), for example, Castells illuminates how environmental NGOs and ecologists are connected to both the space of places and the space of flows. Global environmental NGOs, such as Greenpeace, are conceptualized as transnational, networked organizations which aim at a global impact and are “at the crossroads of science of life, global networking, communication technology, and intergenerational solidarity” (Castells 2004: 176-177). “Ecologists are, at the same time, localists and globalists: globalists in the management of time, localists in the defense of space. Evolutionary thinking and policy require a global perspective. People’s harmony with their environment starts in their local community”. Finally, Castells links environmentalism with a global identity and a human hypertext (Castells 2004: 185).

The space of flows has three layers of material supports. The first layer is a circuit of electronic exchanges (e.g. telecommunications, computer processing, …). The second one consists of nodes and hubs – places that are linked up with the network. The third layer encompasses the “spatial organization of the dominant interests specific to each social structure” (Castells 2000: 442-445). Hubs are defined as “exchangers, communication hubs playing a role of coordination for the smooth interaction of all the elements integrated into the network” (Castells 2000: 443). Nodes encompass the “location of strategically important functions that build a series of locality-based activities and organizations around a key function into the network […] the characteristics of nodes are dependent upon the type of functions performed by a given network” (Castells 2000:


443). Nodes are places that are “connected by electronically powered communication networks through which circulate and interact flows of information that ensure the time sharing of practices processed in such a space” (Castells 2004: 36). More concretely, in a global financial network an urban node is a city where financial flows intersect, where vital infrastructure (e.g. Stock Exchange, large financial institutions) and knowledge (e.g. financial professionals) are concentrated. In networks of global environmental governance, those cities where information flows intersect, a concentration of professionals in environmental governance is to be found, … will be conceptualized as urban nodes.

In the last decades, an extensive literature on urban nodes or global cities has emerged (for an overview see for example: Davis 2005). These scholars do not investigate cities as closed spaces, but analyze them in their relationship to globalization processes and global networks. Cities are conceptualized as strategic places or sites that are linked up to global networks, because they concentrate vital knowledge, infrastructure and services. As strategic places, global cities are managing, controlling or servicing global processes (Sassen 2001: 330, 347, 351).

Literature on global cities is now developing in two main directions. On the one hand, empirical evidence for the validity of the theoretical framework is being gathered. The Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network 7 , for example, is investigating empirical data with regards to the external relations of world cities. The focus is mainly on the global economy, but attention is increasingly being paid to political and cultural aspects of globalization as well. The findings are very useful to test existing hypotheses and formulate new ones, as well as open up new research questions. On the other hand, the main focus on ‘core’ global cities – i.e. global cities such as New York, London and Tokyo – and economic globalization has stimulated alternative theorizing and empirical testing. As a result, a literature is emerging on world and global cities in ‘the South’ (e.g. Mexico City, Shanghai) (see for example: Gugler 2004; Amen, Archer, and Bosman 2006) and cities that are of importance for other than economic globalization processes (e.g. Washington, Geneva and Brussels for political and social globalisation) (see for example: Taylor 2005; Amen, Archer, and Bosman 2006).

This research wants to operationalize Castells’ macro sociological theory and broaden the horizon of the global cities literature by investigating whether certain cities can function as global cities for global environmental governance. When it comes to flows, this research will mainly focus on


information flows and the dissemination of knowledge, norms, practices, experiences, … within and between the selected networks.

Cases In general, little research has been done on city networks of global environmental governance (Betsill and Bulkeley 2004; Keiner and Kim 2007). On the basis of a study of (online) information and literature, I have selected six networks of global environmental governance out of a broad universe. These networks have not been explored systematically before, and it is expected that investigating them from a global cities perspective will lead to a better understanding of their role and functioning. Both within-case analysis and cross-case comparisons will take place, as this combination is believed to make possible the drawing of inferences (George and Bennett 2005: 18). The unit of analysis is the network. As a consequence, the city is only approached in a relational perspective. The networks, apart from being case studies, will eventually also be examined in a relational sense, as none of them exists in isolation and information does not only flow within a network but between networks as well. I will explore and compare these six networks of global environmental governance in order to gain insight into their ‘rationale’. The aspects of comparison are inspired both by theory and empiricism. First of all, the actors will be compared: which actors have induced the networks, who are the associated actors, what are their roles and power relations and what does this imply for the rationale of the network? Second, how these networks spread norms and practices will also be subject of comparative analysis. Third, the relative roles and importance of the various cities will be collated.

The research will consist of a combination of literature study, analysis of (online) information, expert interviews and limited quantitative mapping. I will not undertake an extensive quantitative mapping due to data restrictions 8 , such as the lack of data on cities. Because of the very dynamic character of the networks, I will follow their developments closely throughout the research project. I will do this by analyzing (online) information, attending meetings and interviewing key actors.


Short et al. have clearly illustrated that the global cities literature in general is troubled by data problems (Short et al. 1996).


Case selection This section amplifies the various selection criteria in order to explain the research goal and to account for the reasons why I limit myself to the analysis of the six selected networks.

First of all, I will only focus on global city networks, i.e. networks that encompass at least three continents covering both the global North and the global South. This means that national and regional networks will not be taken into account. Secondly, I want to take a look at potential global cities 9 . Although global cities are not necessarily the world’s largest cities, they should have a certain size in order to be able to concentrate strategic actors and provide certain services (Short 2004: 295-296). Consequently, ICLEI 10 – the most significant network of local governments for environmental governance – will not be one of the case studies, because the majority of the members 11 do not have the potential to be conceptualized as a global city 12 . Thirdly, the networks focus on environmental issues or have at the least an environmental pillar. In other words, information on environmental governance flows through the network. Fourthly, accessible information on the functioning of the network needs to be available. Informal networks or networks that only provide limited information will thus not be studied. Finally, these networks represent the actor triangle: state, market and civil society are involved both as initiating and as participating actors.

The selection of the six networks also tries to cover some variety: the research encompasses both old and new networks, associations with a specific focus or a broader agenda, technical or political networks and they are created by various actors. Furthermore, in accordance with the above mentioned definition of glocalization, cities are approached both as actors (local government) and as places (urban setting).

Annex 1 provides an overview of world and global cities as identified by Friedmann, Sassen and Castells. Although these authors focus on economic globalization and it is expected that research on political globalization will identify other cities as global cities, the overview should indicate what kind of cities my research is looking at. 10 “ICLEI was founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. The council was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at our inaugural conference, the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York” ( – About ICLEI). 11 ICLEI has currently more than 700 cities, towns, counties, and their associations as members. 12 I will only focus on ICLEI to the extent that it cooperates with the selected networks. In case member cities of the selected networks do play a significant role within ICLEI, this will also be subject of investigation.



It must be clear that this research does not aim at giving a complete ranking of global cities in relation to global environmental governance. In order to do this, it would be necessary to bring into account all the existing networks, map the organization of conferences on global environmental governance in cities, … Obviously, there is a lack of data, time and human resources to undertake such an all encompassing project. What this research does intend to do, is investigating a small number of networks in depth in order to better understand their internal dynamics, role, position and possible effects they generate. By applying the concepts from globalization theory and global cities literature to networks of global environmental governance, I want to broaden the scope of this kind of research and hope to offer new insights into the global cities debate.

Six networks were thus selected in accordance with the above mentioned selection criteria. Cities take up a role both as actors and as places in the following networks: Metropolis, Mega-Cities Project, Clean Air Initiative for Cities around the World and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Two networks in which cities only function as places will be investigated as well: a network of global environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and a network of global environmental consultancy firms (ECFs). ENGOs and ECFs are conceptualized as two important actors in global environmental governance. ENGOs are known for their expertise and the influence they can exert on world politics (Wapner 1996). In order to accomplish their goals, the main ENGOs, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, …, have developed worldwide office grids. Information flows between these offices. Furthermore, ENGOs purposively direct knowledge and information to other relevant actors. ECFs mainly contribute to environmental governance by aiding companies and governments to implement global environmental standards, norms and rules. By providing knowledge, ECFs enhance the capacity to act environmentally sound. Global ECFs such as ERM, ENVIRON, ENRS, … have created a worldwide office network based in cities, in order to be able to assist their customers worldwide (Miles 2000; Schulz 2000).

Annex 2 gives an overview of the categorization of the networks and outlines their characteristics. They differ in terms of initiating actors, associated actors and functions. At the origin of the networks, we find the three initiating actors mentioned earlier: IGOs, cities and nongovernmental/private actors. The other actors involved are both public and private and very diverse: they range from national governments to grassroots groups and from international development agencies to large private banks. During the first phase of my research, I have


identified and categorized functions carried out by the networks 13 . Capacity building encompasses both technical and financial assistance; implementation of policies refers to assistance with the implementation of both global policies and local projects. Influencing policymaking is linked to advocating interests. Information sharing relates to the exchange of best practices, experiences, … and the spreading of expertise. Representation happens through formal statutes. Obviously, a further refinement of this categorization will be undertaken as the research evolves.

A first phase of empirical research has now been completed. It consisted of literature study, analysis of the networks’ websites and official documents, participatory observation of meetings, and a series of personal interviews 14 . The following sections will provide the basic facts on the internal dynamics (foundation, evolution of membership, function and instruments) of each network. This information will also enable a preliminary understanding of what role these networks fulfill in the spreading of norms and practices. Metropolis 15 Foundation and membership Metropolis – the World Association of Major Metropolises – was founded in 1984 on the initiative of Michel Giraud, the then chairmen of the regional council of Ile-de-France. Twelve other cities and regions 16 participated in the meeting and one year later the Metropolis Association was officially created. Fourteen cities and regions 17 are recognized as founding members. Today, the network comprises 101 metropolitan governments as members 18 . They represent cities with a population of over one million or capital cities with more than 250 000 inhabitants. Other than city actors (business sector, IGOs, …) can be asked to participate in meetings and/or contribute to specific projects, but aren’t members of Metropolis. Metropolis has

An analysis of the networks’ missions and concrete achievements is at the basis of this categorization. For other typologies of network functions, see (Andonova, Betsill, and Bulkeley 2007). 14 A list of conducted interviews and observed meetings that were of value for this paper can be found at the end of the paper. 15 Unless referred to other sources, all the information can be found on the official Metropolis website: 16 Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Colombo, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Tokyo and Turin. 17 Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Colombo, Ile-de-France, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Montreal, New York, Tokyo and Turin. 18 Geographical distribution: Asia-Pacific (40), Africa (24), Europe (19), Latin America & Caribbean (11), North America (7). At the moment, no US metropolitan governments, except for the one of Atlanta, participate in Metropolis.



a broad scope, since it covers economic, social and environmental issues. I will focus on its environmental pillar. Metropolis is recognized as a privileged partner by the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank. Furthermore, the association has United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) special consultative status 19 since 2004 and it functions as the metropolitan section of UCLG.

Some of the members have a special role in the network. At this moment, Barcelona hosts the general secretariat, Paris is the president of the network and Montreal is home to the International Institute for the Management of Major Metropolises (, the association’s training institute. Other members can take up a more active role by being president or vice-president of one of the standing commissions. These standing commissions are created at the triennial Metropolis world congresses where the agenda and goals for the coming three years are set. Besides the expansion of the membership throughout the years, some cities also renounced their membership (e.g. the founding members Los Angeles and New York City). Furthermore, interviews with officials show that some cities are not much heard of or do not perform the active role they announced to fulfill. The same applies to membership of a standing commission. Some cities take up a very active role by presiding the commission or participating in all the commission’s meetings, others are never heard of and non-members sometimes play an (unexpected) active role by attending the meetings. Furthermore, officials confirmed the existence of a core group of member cities which assures the existence and the functioning of the network and the various standing commissions. This comes as no surprise within a network of 90 members. It is thus clear, that a varying relative importance can be assigned to each of the members.

Function and instruments Metropolis’ mission consists of promoting “international cooperation and exchanges among members” and “better control the development process of metropolitan areas in order to enhance

Today 3052 NGOs have ECOSOC consultative status. There are three categories of status. “General consultative status is reserved for large international NGOs whose area of work covers most of the issues on the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies”. “Special consultative status is granted to NGOs which have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC”. “Organizations that apply for consultative status but do not fit in any of the other categories are usually included in the Roster”. “Non-governmental organizations in general consultative status, special consultative status and on the Roster, that express their wish to attend the relevant international conferences convened by the United Nations and the meetings of the preparatory bodies of the said conferences shall as a rule be accredited for participation.” (


the wellbeing of their citizens”. Formulated into concrete goals, this means: (1) increasing “among members and collaborators the exchange of knowledge, experiences and policies applied to shore up institutional capabilities”, (2) strengthening “the worldwide influence of metropolitan governments in collaboration with other local government associations, international organizations and civil society (companies, universities, NGOs, etc.)” and (3) extending “the number of Metropolis members, seeking a balance between its international mission and regional initiatives” ( – About Metropolis – Mission). In order to reach the three goals, Metropolis has a general secretariat, a training institute and meetings are organized on a regular basis.

Metropolis declares to be both a political and technical network. Annex 2 lists its main functions. Information sharing occurs at meetings of the standing commissions where a limited number of member cities gather together with outside participants (IGOs, NGOs, private sector) and best practices are presented. Capacity is enhanced by training courses within the framework of standing commissions, the training institute of the association and the technical assistance scheme. The latter should also facilitate metropolises to implement their projects. At the 2005 Metropolis world congress in Berlin, a working group was created to investigate an initiative that could help cities strengthen their financial capability by facilitating funding for investment projects. Representation is assured in three ways: attending international meetings (e.g. Rio conference in 1992), being a privileged partner of the UN, WHO and the World Bank and being the metropolitan section of UCLG. Interviews with officials show that the perception of the real functions of Metropolis diverges. For some members the participation in Metropolis has initiated concrete initiatives, for others it appears the activities of Metropolis offer an opportunity of reflection or seem to be a PR-instrument for cities and some stress the international importance of the network. Mega-Cities Project 20 Foundation and membership This network was founded in 1987 by Janice E. Perlman, a political scientist. It brings together national governments, cities, the private sector, international agencies, private foundations, grassroots groups, academia and media and aims at exchanging best practices concerning poverty, environment and participation. Here as well, my focus will be on the environmental pillar. The


Unless referred to other sources, all the information is available at


Mega-Cities Project has 25 participating cities 21 . The secretariat is based in New York. Since 1997, The Mega-Cities Project has ECOSOC special consultative status

( The project is still active today, but it is unclear to what extent. Therefore, an interview with Janice E. Perlman is planned beginning of April 2008 in order to get more information on the current functioning of the network.

Function and instruments “The Mega-Cities strategy is to discover and uncover these [successful innovative solutions], document and disseminate them, and scale them up into policy (where possible) or transfer them worldwide to cities seeking to adapt them and jump-start problem solving of their own. As a result, the lag time between ideas and implementation is shortened and the effects of approaches that work are multiplied” (Perlman and O'Meara Sheehan 2007: 181). It thus fulfills the function of information sharing and also tries to enhance the cities’ capacity to implement the project by identifying the opportunities and difficulties of the several projects. The Mega-Cities Project’s website mentions seven international transfers 22 , some more successful than others. These are South-South, South-North and Nord-South transfers.

In order to fulfill these tasks, the Mega-Cities Project has teams in 21 mega-cities which consist of representatives from grassroots groups, NGOs, private sector, government, academia and media (Perlman and O'Meara Sheehan 2007: 182). Funding for transfers is assured on a case by case basis (Perlman and O'Meara Sheehan 2007: 184) and financial support is also provided for research. This financial capability is assured by private foundations (e.g. Ford Foundation), government and international agencies (e.g. UNDP) and private corporations (e.g. Citibank). The Mega-Cities Project also conducts research, is involved in training and capacity-building (e.g. a training for urban mayors, managers, planners and practitioners on poverty, inequality and local government in Belo Horizonte in 2002) and consulting (e.g. for the Mexican Ministry of Housing and Urban Development in 2006) and delivers speeches at universities, fora and conferences (e.g. World Urban Forum, Vancouver 2003).

Europe: London, Moscow, Paris. North America: Los Angeles, New York. Latin America: Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo. Asia: Bangkok, Beijing, Calcutta, Delhi, Dhaka, Jakarta, Karachi, Manila, Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo. Middle East and Africa: Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi. 22 Transfers within and between US cities have been realized as well, though are not the focus of my research.



Clean Air Initiative for Cities around the World 23 Foundation and membership This World Bank initiative consists of regional subdivisions which were created at different points in time and which have varying institutional setups. Clean Air Initiative in Latin American and Caribbean cities 24 (CAI-LAC) and Clean Air Initiative in Sub-Saharan African cities (CAISSA) were both launched in 1998. CAI-LAC has seven city members 25 . Four NGOs and foundations 26 , nine development banks and agencies 27 and four private sector companies 28 also have member status. CAI-SSA is organized around partnerships in order to carry out projects in the involved countries of the sub-regions 29 with a focus on their largest cities. At the start, the Norwegian and Belgian Agencies for Development Coordination were the core partners. From 2001 until 2002 Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) was a partner as well. Currently, CAI-SSA cooperates with seven major partners 30 .

Clean Air Initiative for Asian cities (CAI-Asia) and Clean Air Initiative in Cities of Europe and Central Asia were launched in 2001. The former has proven to be very successful; the latter is no longer active. CAI-Asia has currently 27 city members31 . Since 2007, Manila is home to the CAIAsia Center which functions as the Secretariat of the CAI-Asia Partnership. 28 government agencies 32 , eight development agencies and foundations 33 and three private sector companies 34 constitute the other members.

None of the regional subdivisions has the intention to further stimulate actively an increase in city members. However, cities can still apply to join the Initiative.

Unless referred to other sources, all the information is available at Since the 2006 institutional reform of this subdivision of the Clean Air Initiative, the name has changed into Clean Air Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean (CAI-LAC). 25 Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and Sao Paolo. 26 ARPEL, ICLEI, IPIECA, Transportation and Technology R&D center. 27 CDG, CETESB, Environment Canada, GTZ, IADB, DGIS, PAHO, USEPA, The World Bank. 28 Daimler Chrysler, Renault, Shell Foundation, Volvo. 29 Sub-regions: West Africa; Nigeria and neighbors; West Central Africa; Southern Africa; Eastern Africa. 30 Belgian Cooperation, European Union, UNEP, WHO, USAID, USEPA, IPIECA. 31 Bangkok, Chang Mai, Chengdu, Chittagong, Chongqing, Colombo, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Haiphong, Hangzhou, Hanoi, Harbin, Ho Chi Minh City, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Lahore, Makati, Mumbai, Naga, Phnom Penh, Pune, Singapore, Surabaya, Tianjin, Ulaanbaatar, Yogyakarta. 32 More than half of them are national environmental departments or ministries. Other agencies relate to transport, energy, pollution control and development 33 Asian Development Bank, GTZ, Hewlett foundation, IUCN, Sida, the World Bank, USEPA, USAID/USAEP. 34 Shell is a full private sector member and Asian Clean Fuels Association and Corning Incorporated are associated private sector members.



Functions and instruments The overall goal of the Clean Air Initiative is to advance “innovative ways to improve air quality in cities by sharing knowledge and experiences through partnerships in selected regions of the world” ( – About us). However, every regional subdivision has its own specific focus and consequently different instruments to reach the postulated goals.

CAI-LAC’s general mission is to address “the environmental and public health concerns associated with air pollution in large cities throughout the region as well as the region’s contribution to and impacts from global climate change”. Translated in concrete objectives, this means: (1) “advance common goals for protecting the health of people exposed to air pollution, improving air quality, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions”; (2) “provide a framework for identifying and evaluating policy options and measures”; (3) “facilitate information sharing and alliance building”; (4) “build institutional and technical capacity”; (5) “stimulate innovation regarding the development and use of low-emission, low-carbon technologies”; (6) “foster support of local and international communities and other stakeholders”; (7) “increase access to and leveraging of resources” (The Clean Air Institute 2007: 6). The Clean Air Institute, which is based in Washington D.C., functions as the secretariat and guarantees the concrete realization of the objectives by offering both policy and technical assistance, generating and disseminating data on air quality monitoring and performance, fostering networking opportunities, organizing workshops, conferences and other fora to facilitate the sharing of best practices, offer training opportunities and help strengthening capacity and coordinating the obtainment of financial resources (The Clean Air Institute 2007: 13-14, 26). The 2006 institutional reform of CAI-LAC should revitalize the Initiative and a first analysis of official documents (e.g.: Clean Air Initiative in Latin American Cities 2002; The Clean Air Institute 2007) suggests that the focus has broadened from air quality management (initial phase) to air quality and climate change.

Until 2005, the main goal of CAI-SSA was to phase out leaded gasoline, which has been accomplished successfully (Sexsmith 2005; Clean Air Initiative in Sub-Saharan African Cities). The Road Ahead 2005-2007 action plan postulates five goals: (1) “finish the leaded gasoline phase-out” (2) “assist municipalities and governments to develop concrete action plans to reduce urban air pollution” (3) “improve the quality and harmonize the technical specifications of petroleum fuels” (4) “implement cleaner vehicle strategies and regulations” (5) “increase awareness and provide basic training in Air Quality Management principles for African decision


makers”. It is planned to broaden the initial focus on vehicles and fuels to air pollution management in general. (Clean Air Initiative in Sub-Saharan African Cities: 3-7). CAI-SSA is coordinated by the World Bank. There doesn’t exist an independent institutional structure such as the ones for CAI-LAC and CAI-Asia. In order to achieve the goals, conferences, workshops and national and regional seminars take place, case studies are conducted, research results are disseminated, assistance is offered to develop action plans and technical seminars and training seminars are organized. Furthermore, in 2001, a regional network of experts – AFRICACLEAN – has been set up to reinforce the communication flow among African experts.

CAI-Asia has a very well developed institutional structure and seems to become more independent from the World Bank and from the other regional subdivisions of the Clean Air Initiative. Furthermore, it has published several exhaustive official documents (e.g. work plans, strategies, performance assessments, …) to plan and evaluate postulated objectives, goals and undertaken actions. These documents put forward specific performance indicators which makes CAI-Asia the subdivision with the most concrete goals and objectives and the easiest one to evaluate. The goal postulated for the period 2007-2010 “is the improvement of urban air quality while simultaneously ensuring that continued economic growth results in poverty reduction and social development” (CAI-Asia Partnership 2007: 11). In order to reach this goal, attention should be paid to: (1) “knowledge management”, (2) “capacity building”, (3) “policy dialogues”, (4) “implementation and investments” (CAI-Asia Partnership 2007: 16-18). CAI-Asia uses the same instruments as the other regional subdivisions (conferences, workshops, …), but a first analysis suggests that the members of the CAI-Asia Partnership have greater responsibilities in assuring successful implementation. One way of guaranteeing the commitment of local actors, is working through local networks 35 . The Secretariat’s main task is to facilitate and support the implementation (CAI-Asia Partnership 2007).

“A local network is defined as a multi-sectoral body consisting of organizations and individuals who have committed their time to promote the objectives of CAI-Asia in their respective countries and cities. The CAI-Asia Partnership encourages the setting up of representative and inclusive local multi-sectoral partnerships undertake the following roles: (i) Knowledge management related to AQM; (ii) Capacity building activities on AQM; (iii) Policy dialogue on AQM; (iv) implementation of pilot projects at the city or national level; (v) Provide the critical linkage at the local level with the regional CAI-Asia Partnership activities. The CAI-Asia local networks are also expected to provide strategic support in the operationalization of the CAI-Asia Center Business Plan and the CAI-Asia Partnership Strategy” ( – Asia – Local Networks). Local networks exist for China, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.



C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group 36 Foundation and membership The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group was created in 2005 on the initiative of Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London. At the moment, the network has 40 member cities 37 and twelve affiliated cities 38 . The C40 Cities focus on the improvement of energy efficiency, by cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of cities, in order to combat climate change. At the first Climate Summit in London (October 3-5 2005) eighteen cities were represented 39 . 45 cities participated in the second Climate Summit in New York (May 14-17 2007). Nine cities 40 play a special role within the C40 because they make up the Steering Committee which is chaired by London and sets the agenda and discusses membership of cities. Other actors are involved as well. Since August 2006, the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) is the executive arm of the C40 (see below). Private actors and NGOs are of importance for the realizations of summits and concrete programs. The first Climate Summit, for example, was supported by BP, EDF Energy and Thames Water RWE Group. ICLEI, The Climate Group and BT (a communications company) were the associated partners. In the framework of the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program (EEBRP) four of the world’s largest energy service companies and five of the world’s largest banks are a partner (Website EEBRP).

Functions and instruments The main aim of the C40 is to catalyze action by cities. Therefore, it doesn’t aim at expanding membership endlessly, but wants to remain a workable group of large cities that take the lead. The CCI – as the executive arm of the C40 – assures that objectives become reality. Although it is too soon to judge the effectiveness of the C40, it can be said that the CCI is putting into practice programs rather fast 41 . The initiatives of the CCI are and will be open to non-C40 cities as well. Recently, for example, the CCI signed an agreement with the US Conference of Mayors that

Unless referred to other sources, all the information is available at Addis Ababa, Athens, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Chicago, Delhi NCT, Dhaka, Hanoi, Houston, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Karachi, Lagos, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Warsaw. 38 Austin, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Curitiba, Heidelberg, New Orleans, Portland, Rotterdam, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Stockholm. 39 The network was then called C20. 40 London, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo, Johannesburg, Berlin, Tokyo and Seoul. 41 The Clinton Climate Initiative was launched in August 2006. In May 2007 the first program that CCI is organizing with partner cities in the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group was launched. At the moment seventeen cities are involved. London and Paris are taking the lead in concretizing the program (Website EEBRP,



made it possible for all 1100 member cities to benefit from the EEBRP (Website EEBRP-US Conference of Mayors). The C40 also has a political pillar to the extent that it presented communiqués at the COP11 and MOP1 in Montreal (December 2005), the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm (June 2007) and the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali (December 2007) to urge national governments for action, ask their recognition of the responsibility of cities and announce actions major cities will undertake to tackle climate change (Website Communiqué from large world cities (C20), Website C40 Summit Communiqué). However, the focus is on delivery. In order to create networking possibilities and share information and knowledge, summits and workshops are organized 42 regularly.

Global ENGOs ENGOs play a significant role in global environmental governance. Not only because they concentrate expertise and disseminate information, but also because they can influence state behavior (Jasanoff 1997; Madon 1999) and “directly shape the activities of other institutions, collectivities, and individuals” (Wapner 1996: 152-153). This allows them to “shape widespread practices” (Wapner 1996: 160). Increasingly, ENGOs have been doing this by establishing partnerships with public and private actors (Gunter 2004: 145-146). The material basis for ENGOs to exert influence on global environmental governance is constituted by their worldwide office grids. Being present in particular places enables ENGOs to cooperate with a wide range of other actors, which operate at various levels. From a theoretical perspective as well global ENGOs are interesting. As mentioned earlier, Castells conceptualizes them as being connected to both the space of places and the space of flows (Castells 2000: 168-191).

I will look at the worldwide office grids of major global ENGOs, in order to examine their location strategies and identify which cities function as strategic places, i.e. cities where information flows intersect and a concentration of professionals in environmental governance is to be found. As a starting point, I am investigating the office networks of the global players within the Green 10 43 . Concretely, this means that I am mapping the office networks of Birdlife

The third summit will be hosted by Seoul in May 2009. The first workshop took place in London in December 2007 and focused on Transport and Congestion, the second one – one Airports and Climate Protection – will be held in Los Angeles in April 2008 and the third one will be the World Ports Conference in Rotterdam in July 2008. 43 The Green 10 is a group of leading ENGOs active at the EU level: Birdlife International, CEE Bankwatch Network, Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-E), European Environment Bureau (EEB), Transport and Environment (T&E), Health and Environment Alliance, Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE),



International, Climate Action Network, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Friends of Nature and WWF. In case an ENGO has a national and/or subnational network of offices within one country, only the national head office was brought into account. I will gradually extend the research, in order to include other important global ENGOs, such as The World Conservation Union, as well. A first mapping exercise of the above mentioned six ENGOs, which only paid attention to the presence of an office, showed that Brussels was the city with most ENGOs represented (5) 44 and that Budapest, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Vienna and Washington were home to four out of the six ENGOs. These cities could thus be conceptualized as important cities for global ENGOs. However, several considerations should be brought in, in order to put in proper perspective the importance of some cities for global ENGOs. First of all, some cities might not host the largest amount of ENGO secretariats, but are home to the most important (international) office of an ENGO (e.g. Amsterdam for Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth). Secondly, the relative importance of the various offices within an ENGO’s global grid of offices plays a role too. Therefore, interviews with officials are planned to get a better insight into the dynamics of information distribution within these networks. Finally, it will be important to examine why the various ENGOs concentrate their offices in particular places. In the case of Brussels, for example, an important pull factor for all kinds of actors is the presence of the European institutions (Papadopoulos 2006: 254). However, it will not be sufficient to bring in only one explanatory factor to fully understand why some cities are functioning as “a place of engagement in plural politics and multiple spatialities of involvement” (Amin 2002: 397). A more in depth analysis therefore is needed.

Function and instruments Keck and Sikkink summarize the role of transnational advocacy networks (of which global ENGOs are an example) as follows: “networks influence politics at different levels because the actors in these networks are simultaneously helping to define an issue area, convince policymakers and publics that the problems thus defined are soluble, prescribe solutions, and monitor their implementation” (Keck and Sikkink 1998: 201). The research will examine how ENGOs use their global office network to fulfill these functions. Attention will be paid to the relative importance of the various offices, cooperation between ENGOs and cooperation between ENGOs and other actors.
Greenpeace, International Friends of Nature (IFN),WWF European Policy Office (WWF-EPO) ( 44 Which comes as no surprise, as in 2003, Brussels was the city with most NGO secretariats (1428) (Anheier, Glasius, and Kaldor 2004: 303).


Global ECFs Economic globalization processes and harmonization of environmental norms and standards have fostered internationalization of the environmental services sector (Schulz 2005: 340). As a consequence, global environmental service companies have emerged. The sector is of importance for disseminating information on environmental issues and helping implement environmental policies to both the public and private sector. The functions of environmental service companies can be very comprehensive (see below). I will focus on those global players that conduct environmental consultancy activities. Investigating where global players of this sector are based, can help to understand the significance of certain places for strategic knowledge on environmental governance. The research on ECFs, together with the research on the global companies involved in above mentioned networks, can provide an opportunity to, at least partially, test Saskia Sassen’s hypothesis that the network of global cities for the global economy can be of service for global environmental governance. According to her, “the network of global cities becomes a space at the global scale for the management of investments, but also potentially for the re-engineering of environmentally destructive global capital investments into more responsible investments.” (Sassen 2005: 31). One of the key features that makes global cities places with a positive potential for environmental governance is that these cities represent “dense networks of communication that can serve as facilitators to institute new practices” (Sassen 2005: 12). In case this hypothesis corresponds with reality, this should be reflected, at least partially, in the research results that relate to private companies that are involved in networks of global environmental governance.

As it is very difficult to get a general overview of the environmental service industry (see for example: Schulz 2000: 3-4), identifying the most important global players is not easy. Therefore, a defined list of which ECFs I will analyze, has not been completed yet. I hope that further research will give me a better insight into the dynamics of the sector and thus will lead to a legitimate selection of the major global ECFs. A first mapping exercise of the office networks of some global players, such as Arcadis, ENSR, ENVIRON, ERM, Veolia Environment and WSP, shows that London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris and Singapore seem to be major attraction poles for the environmental service industry. However, several remarks should be added to this exercise. Again, not only the presence of offices will be of importance when analyzing location strategies and their meaning for information distribution. Although in some cases a location strategy is outlined, ad hoc decisions also lead to the extension of the office network (Schulz 2005: 341). The reasons for establishing an office in a certain place can vary significantly,


ranging from new market opportunities to the recruitment of highly skilled personnel (Schulz 2005: 341). Finally, because these companies fulfill several functions, I will have to find out which offices play a significant role in environmental consulting.

Functions and instruments The functions of environmental service companies can be very comprehensive. Ian Miles grouped them in six categories: (1) “financial and information services”, (2) “professional services”, (3) “software”, (4) “developing and/or supplying hardware”, (5) “technical consultancy services” and (6) “physical technical services” (Miles 2000: 106). Focusing on environmental consultancy, would mean paying attention to categories one, two and five.

Future dilemmas The first phase of my research has brought many questions and future research dilemmas to the forefront. Starting from the three research questions I identified, I will clarify them.

A first research question relates to my aim to operationalize Castells’ macro sociological theory to cities and networks of global environmental governance: To what extent are these networks of global environmental governance the type of networks as conceptualized by Castells? The challenge will be to translate theoretical definitions and conceptions of what a network is to a more concrete reality. This will pose problems at two levels. First of all, Castells remains quite vague and abstract on what he understands to be a network. According to him theory should be a tool for empirical research and therefore the concepts put forward need to be applicable to a wide variety of differing cases, and thus are broad and flexible. In line with this, Castells formulates the notion of disposable theory: if a concept is useful for empirical research it should be used, if not, the concept should be rejected (Stalder 2006, 33-38). The advantage of the notion of disposable theory is that a theoretical framework can be applied in a very flexible way; the disadvantage, however, is that the theoretical framework doesn’t offer a clear model. An earlier effort by Stalder to unravel Castells’ implicit definition of a network unfortunately does not bring much more clarity. According to him, a network – as conceptualized by Castells – “is an enduring pattern of interaction among heterogeneous actors that define one another (identity). They coordinate themselves on the basis of common protocols, values, and goals (process). A network reacts nondeterministically to selfselected external influences, thus not simply representing the environment but actively creating it (interdependence). Key properties of a network are emergent from these processes unfolding over


time, rather then determined by any of its elements (emergence)” (Stalder 2006: 180). Because Castells doesn’t use standard categories as developed in network analysis and relates more to complexity theory for his conceptualization of networks (Stalder 2006: 170), a closer look at this literature will be needed in order to examine the first research question and set up a model that allows to evaluate this organizational form. Two examples illustrate what kind of difficulties will be faced when operationalizing Castells’ concept of a network to networks of global environmental governance. First, there is a problem of identifying indicators that can determine whether the selected networks are flexible, scalable and survivable – the three key characteristics Castells assigns to networks to distinguish them from other organizational forms (Castells 2004). Castells claims, for example, that networks only encompass those nodes that are necessary for the network. “If a node in the network ceases to perform a useful function it is phased out from the network, and the network rearranges itself – as cells do in biological processes” (Castells 2000: 15). But, what does this phasing out mean concretely? Are these nodes simply ignored (e.g. city members in a network do not take into account the opinion of another city member, because it is never heard of or documents – and thus information flows – are not disseminated anymore to the particular member) or are they eliminated (e.g. an ENGO or an ECF dislocates an office)? And how should these various forms of phasing out to be evaluated? Secondly, the definition of an information flow itself is troubled as well. What is understood as being information and how to measure and compare these various forms of information? How can the importance of an informal conversation between two network members be weighted against the distribution of official reports? The question on evaluating the characteristics of a network and information flows, shows that a large part of the research will consist of identifying categories in order to be able to evaluate this complex reality. Secondly, when we look at cities and networks, the operationalization becomes problematic because Castells approaches cities as nodes differently when he focuses either on the urban settings or the local governments. When he talks about the former, he remains as vague as he is on networks in general without offering a model for evaluation (e.g. how do you distinguish between nodes and hubs) (e.g. Borja and Castells 1997: 203). When it comes to the latter, he has developed a kind of evaluation scheme by distinguishing networks from formal bodies (Borja and Castells 1997: 207) 45 and identifying “critical factors of network operation” (Borja and Castells

Annex 3 replicates the table in which Borja and Castells identify the difference between formal bodies and city networks.



1997: 215) 46 . This dual approach is also reflected in the literature that investigates city networks empirically. Either scholars focus on the role of urban settings (e.g. the majority of the publications of the GaWC Study Group and Network) or on the role of local governments within institutionalized city networks (Betsill and Bulkeley 2004; Keiner and Kim 2007). In order to evaluate the role of cities and networks of global environmental governance properly, this research wants to bring together both approaches. Part of the research will thus consist of investigating whether this distinction urges for two separate evaluation schemes or not.

The second research question that comes to the forefront is: Which cities can be conceptualized as global cities (i.e. nodes) in these networks of global environmental governance? As mentioned earlier, in networks of global environmental governance, those cities where information flows intersect, a concentration of professionals in environmental governance is to be found, … will be conceptualized as global cities. Examining this, will lead to the identification of the relative importance and role of the different cities and a categorization that clarifies how these cities relate to the networks. Again, the main difficulty is to link reality to abstract terms. Castells distinguishes two kinds of junctions within a network: nodes and hubs. They differ to the extent that a hub has a coordination role to play and a node doesn’t (Castells 2000: 443). Sassen distinguishes between “full-fledged global cities” and cities with global city functions (Sassen 2005: 17-18) and other scholars have made rankings or hierarchies of world and global cities 47 (e.g. Friedmann 1986; Taylor 2001, 2005). My main aim will be to identify which positions the various places that are linked up to the networks of global environmental governance have. In line with Castells’ argument that a network only encompasses useful nodes 48 , I stress that the purpose is not to identify a hierarchical ranking of global cities or global cities in the making, but to define which tasks the various (categories of) cities fulfill and how they relate to the network and to each other. In order to do this, I will start from the distinction between nodes and hubs, as formulated by Castells, and try to identify these two categories within the investigated networks. This should reveal whether these two categories are sufficient to grasp the varying roles of the nodes. Nevertheless, the question of power relations within networks is of importance, as they are created when information is disseminated and norms and practices are spread (Wolman and
The critical factors of network operation are: leadership, profitability, common project, an objective and a clear product/service, specificity, dimension, control systems, evaluation, political presence, rules of the international game, guaranteeing the transfer process (Borja and Castells 1997: 215-216). 47 Short has criticized these ranking exercises in an interesting way (Short 2004). 48 Castells binary logic of inclusion and exclusion implies I will also examine which nodes are included and excluded and how this relates to power relations. At this moment, the research hasn’t advanced enough to already elaborate on this specific aspect in detail.


Page 2002; Bulkeley 2006, 2006). “The transfer of policy techniques and lessons is not a simple matter of the exchange of knowledge or information but, rather, is deeply entangled with competing governmental rationalities about the nature of the policy problem and the legitimate means through which it should be addressed. Given the emphasis on best practice as a means through which lessons can be learnt and transferred between places, this raises questions concerning how best practice is constructed and practiced, and the consequent implications for the governing of urban sustainability” (Bulkeley 2006: 1035). Thus, controlling, but also coordinating information is linked to a power position. The link between information flows and power relations is of great importance for this research, because it allows to test one of the propositions put forward by both Castells and Sassen. They claim that the global city architecture goes beyond the traditional North South division (Castells 2000: 407-459; Sassen 2000: 151). The investigation of the relationship between cities of the Northern and Southern hemisphere in networks of global environmental governance should clarify whether the traditional divisions North/South, core/periphery are present in these networks or not. In case a network is set up by a Northern actor and Northern actors coordinate and/or control the information flows, it can be questioned whether this network goes beyond the traditional North South divide. Personal interviews with officials will definitely have added value to identify complex power relations. However, in order to do this properly, a representative group of officials should be interviewed, reflecting both dominant and divergent discourses. Therefore, further interviews and participatory observations of meetings are planned.

Lastly, I also want to answer a third research question: Which role do these networks fulfill within the global environmental governance architecture? The analysis and comparison of the six city networks, should offer insights into the ‘rationale’ of this organizational form. This should enable me to judge whether information flows that circulate within and between these networks and the functions these networks fulfill can be conceptualized as being an essential part of global environmental governance within an age of globalization. In case they can, the question is what their opportunities and limits are. In which areas do these networks represent an added value to other existing forms of global environmental governance? Here, I will only focus on the output and outcome networks generate, as it is almost impossible to evaluate their impact. Apart from the evaluation of the realizations of these networks, identifying their importance is also linked to the question how they relate to other actors within the field of global environmental governance. Each of the selected networks tries to influence other global environmental governance actors either by engaging them in projects,


undertaking lobbying activities, providing advice, … However, what does that mean for the position of networks and their units within the global environmental governance architecture? Are they recognized by others as legitimate and are they present in the arena of global environmental governance (for example, at international summits)?

Finally, I highlight a dilemma that is linked to all three research questions. As I focus on global city networks, I will also have to evaluate potential networks within the networks. The first empirical findings show that these global city networks have difficulties finding common ground for all cities involved. Interests differ fundamentally between North and South and between various regions. As a consequence, almost every city network has – formal or informal – regional subnetworks. Thus, in relation to the first research question, it will be necessary to frame this reality within Castells’ theory. Secondly, this poses questions on the categorization of cities (e.g. formulate a category for cities that are of major importance for a subnetwork, but have less value within the global network) and power relations (within these subnetwork and between a subnetwork and a global network). Finally, the existence of subnetworks – emerging because of efficiency and effectiveness concerns – relates to the evaluation of outcomes these networks can realize.

Conclusion Departing from the attention that is now paid to the role of cities and city networks within global politics, I have outlined my research on six city networks of global environmental governance. The main aim of this paper was to give an introduction to the topic and the first findings and to formulate the main questions and dilemmas I am confronted with at the moment. By doing this, I want to reflect and open up the debate on how to evaluate and value networks, which are proclaimed to be “the most efficient form of organization” (Castells 2000: 16).


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Websites Asian Network of Major Cities 21 The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Cities Alliance-Cities without Slums The Clean Air Initiative for Cities around the World The GaWC Study Group and Network Global Cities Dialogue International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives – ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability The Mega-Cities Project. Innovations for Urban Life Metropolis National League of Cities Sister Cities International-Global Citizen Diplomacy Network United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Urbanization Prospects Website EEBRP Website EEBRP-US Conference of Mayors Website Communiqué from large world cities (C20)

31 Website C40 Summit Communiqué

Interviews C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Oliver Haugen Manager C40 - Large Cities Climate Leadership Group Telephone interview. March 20 2007. Simon Reddy Manager, C40 - Large Cities Climate Leadership Group Telephone interview. January 8 2007.

Metropolis Didier Jean Secrétaire général. Chargé des réseaux internationaux et de la prospective unité des affaires internationales et européennes. Conseil Régional Ile-de-France. Paris. November 27 2007. Manuel Beguier Policy advisor Sustainable development. Innovative projects. Conseil Régional Ile-de-France. Paris. November 27 2007. Caroline Mancel Attaché Directions des relations extérieures. Ministère de la région de Bruxelles-capital. Brussels. December 19 2007.

Georgina Pozo Riva Advisor/Asesora Secretaría de desarrollo urbano. Dirección general de planeación urbana. State of Mexico. September 13 2007. Participatory observation C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group London workshop on transport and congestion. December 3-5 2007. Metropolis Réunion de la commission 1: ecoregion Paris. January 21-22 2008.


Annex 1
John Friedmann

World Cities/Global Cities
Saskia Sassen Locating Cities on Global Circuits (2002: 14) Manuel Castells The Rise of the Network Society (1996)

The World City Hypothesis (1986: 72)

Core Countries: Primary London Paris Rotterdam Frankfurt Zurich New York Chicago Los Angeles San Francisco Tokyo

Secondary Brussels Milan Vienna Madrid Toronto Miami Houston Sydney New York London Tokyo Paris Frankfurt Zurich Amsterdam Chicago Los Angeles Sydney Hong Kong … São Paolo Mexico City … Amsterdam Beijing Bombay Budapest Buenos Aires Cairo Calcutta Chicago Dacca Frankfurt Hong Kong Jakarta Karrachi Lagos London Los Angeles Madrid Mexico Milan Moscow New Delhi New York Osaka Paris Rio de Janeiro San Francisco São Paolo Seoul Shanghai Singapore Taipei Tianjin Tokyo Zurich … (Taylor, 1999: Table 1&2)

Semi-Peripheral Countries Primary Secondary São Paolo Johannesburg Singapore

Buenos Aires Rio de Janeiro Caracas Mexico City Hong Kong Taipei Manila Bangkok Seoul


Annex 2

Selected networks
Cities as actors and as places Initiating actor IGO governmental/private actor Network Clean Air Initiative (CAI) City NonNon-governmental/private actor Cities as places

Metropolis C40

Mega-Cities Project

Global Environmental NGOs Environmental Consultancy Firms (ECFs)

CAI Initiating actor IGO Associated actors Academe Cities Development Banks Governmental agencies International development agencies and foundations NGOs Private sector Function Capacity building Information sharing Policy implementation

Metropolis City Cities NGOs Private sector

C40 City Cities NGOs Private sector

Mega-Cities Project Non-gov./Private actor Academe Cities Governments Grassroots groups Media Non-profits Private foundations Private sector Capacity building (Influencing policymaking) Information sharing Policy implementation

Global ENGOs Non-gov./Private actor Private sector Public sector

Global ECFs Non-gov./Private actor Private sector Public sector

Capacity building Influencing policymaking Information sharing Policy implementation Representation

Capacity building (Influencing policymaking) Information sharing Policy implementation

Information sharing Influencing policymaking

Capacity building Information sharing Policy implementation


Annex 3 Formal bodies

City networks and formal bodies (Borja and Castells 1997: 207) Networks Associative structure Actor/agent base Plurinational. No state base Specific objectives Presence Ad-hocratic org. (greater flexibility) Heterogeneous members Changing/adaptable High instability Network

Organic structure Territorial base State representation base Global vision Representation Bureaucratic organization Homogeneous members Stable/not very adaptable Low mortality Hierarchy (2nd/3rd level)


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