Jannete Elizabeth Guerrero Maya
Congress of Mexico City
Expert Contributor

International Local Action:Local Development and Promotion Abroad

By Jannete Guerrero Maya | Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:34

In the 21st century, international relations are no longer exclusive to states, as cities around the world are increasingly constituting themselves as relevant actors on the international stage. Every day, Mexico becomes a more relevant actor in the international arena, making it even more important to encourage the internationalization of Mexico City and its municipalities, with the objective of benefiting from international action to enhance local development.

Mexico City is recognized nationally and internationally for its great qualities, from its cultural and historical heritage to the fact it is the country's largest economic hub. According to the National People's Council report, the city has approximately 8.7 million inhabitants, which represents a population similar to that of whole countries such as Austria or Israel and a population greater than that of Switzerland. Not to mention its neighboring municipalities that make it an urban area of ​​more than 20 million people moving around the city. In addition, the city alone contributes around 17.5 percent of the country's GDP. It is also recognized for maintaining a constant connection with the outside world through technology, tourism, gastronomy and sports, among many other fields. 

Mexico City has been able to build strong international relations that are now essential to the transformation of its international potential in favor of local development. Therefore, it is important that, as legislators, we understand the various ways in which we can work to help to promote international action that enhances the development of people in this city and thus improve their quality of life. More importantly, the role of local governments is to work hand-in-hand with the federal government to improve the international participation of our country, always in line with the principles of Mexican foreign policy and in pursuit of the welfare of all citizens.

Mexico City has taken international actions as part of its accepting co-responsibility in dealing with national and worldwide problems. In addition, the city has already committed to meeting the goals and targets of global development and cooperation agendas, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the New Urban Agenda, Agenda 21 for Culture, Sendai Framework for reducing risks from disasters, the Aichi Agenda on biodiversity, the Milan Pact on food security, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Global Migration Pact and the Paris Agreement. For this reason, it is even more important to promote its international action in a coordinated manner.

In my role as President of the International Relations Committee of the Mexico City Congress and as Vice Coordinator of the Parliamentary Group of the Labor Party (PT), I presented three initiatives to strengthen the role of Mexico City and to promote its international action, together with the municipalities. The most recent and essential initiative was presented on March 10, 2020, to issue the Mexico City International Action Law. The purpose is to give effect to various provisions of article 20 of the local Political Constitution by conferring a legal framework that considers the scope, principles, content, organization and powers of international action and of the actors that exercise it in the city.

It should be noted that the importance of this initiative lies in the fact that the Political Constitution of Mexico City is an advanced legal instrument that has embedded figures and recognized rights far more detailed than most national and international legal systems. Therefore, the Mexico City International Action Law sets an example of how cities can identify and encourage international activities as an indispensable element of development and democratic planning.

Based on the above and the importance of generating additional initiatives that support this new law, the proposal to reform and add various articles to Mexico City’s Organic Law of the Executive Power and Public Administration and the Organic Law of Mayors was presented on May 16, 2019,  on the topic of international action by the municipalities, and approved on Feb, 20, 2020. This was followed by the initiative to reform number 7 of article 20 of the Political Constitution of Mexico City, regarding the execution of inter-institutional agreements, on Oct. 24, 2019.

Finally, we must take into account the great cultural, historical, artistic, gastronomic, tourism and innovative mosaic that constitutes our capital, with singularities to display and export to the world. Undoubtedly, each municipality by itself has a particular potential that must be exploited in international spaces. In addition, it is important to note that international action entails strengthening the ties and alliances envisioned in Goal 17 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which must be inclusive and based on principles and values, as well as shared visions and objectives that put people and communities at the center of development. In particular, this bill would contribute to the strengthening of Mexico City's actions aimed at achieving the goals of SDG 11, which seeks to accomplish sustainable cities and communities.