City diplomacy and Australian LGAs: the potential for global urban leadership in pluralised systems of local government
In April 2020, C40 Cities, a prominent transnational network of almost 100 of the world’s largest cities that have committed to mitigating the impacts of climate change launched a Global Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce. This group of 11 city leaders aimed to drive a sustainable and fair recovery from the crisis in cities. The membership of the group includes the mayors of Freetown, Milan, Lisbon, Rotterdam, Medellín, Montréal, New Orleans, Seattle, Seoul, the Secretary for the Environment of Hong Kong and Melbourne. This list is not surprising in that it includes a number of leaders of cities that have been proactive members of emerging forms of transnational city leadership and networked global urban governance that has seen the proliferation of city networking, other forms of bi-lateral relations between cities, as well as the inclusion of local authorities in many multilateral forums and agenda.
There is, however, significant variation in the jurisdiction of the local authorities included in this leadership group and as figure 1 shows, the City of Melbourne stands out as a notably smaller municipality in terms of population when compared with its greater metropolitan area.