The concluding, high-level panel discussion with
- Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Bertelsmann Foundation
- Tony Pipa, Brookings
- Edeltraud Klabuhn, Mayor of the City of Duisburg
- Ryan Sorenson, City of Sheboygan
- Martin van der Pütten, International Director of the City of Dortmund
intertwined the scientific view of urban diplomacy with the practical possibilities and challenges of cities. The panel agreed that cities are very specifically confronted with global challenges and that citizens expect answers from their municipalities. The first mayor of the City of Duisburg, Edeltraud Klabuhn, emphasized the importance of municipalities embodying the democratic principles so that they can react to constantly new changes and operate sustainable public services and enable a diverse urban society.
Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook appealed in particular to national levels that cities must be brought more to the negotiating table of international politics and included in discussions on an equal footing. "If we are urbanized in 2030 as we have never been before and want good living conditions for all, then this has to happen in unison with cities", Ashbrook said.
This also found approval at the level of the municipal representatives who were represented on the panel: “A lot of work is done on ground level in municipialities. Let's not waste that. Share the benefit, not only for environmentally better, but also for stronger cities" says the young Mayor of Sheboygan, Ryan Sorenson, who sees cities as "leaders for change".
Martin van der Pütten, Head of International Affairs at the City of Dortmund, also urged the national level to see cities as a supplement to diplomatic means and "use the power of the cities", otherwise you will miss an opportunity. Municipalities need to be formally and systematically involved in foreign relations, so he appealed to the federal government to consider training city diplomats to enable them to function as a complement to diplomatic relations at the national level. He went on to say that every city, of any size, is already practicing urban diplomacy, since they have a great deal of scope for shaping and cultivating relationships due to their concern and accumulated knowledge. Tony Pipa from Brookings also made it clear that the 2030 Agenda in cities is an opportunity to become better locally.