Climate Week NYC 2023: City, State & Global Diplomacy - Bridging the subnational and international in climate foreign policy

2PM - 3:15PM EST / 8PM - 9:15PM CET
245 Sullivan St New York, NY 10012, USA, Lester Pollack Colloquium Room and Online
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Watch event recording


View our blogpost on the event here

Combatting the climate crisis requires immense global cooperation at a scale and speed never before seen in history. World leaders have made remarkable strides in their efforts to work together on achieving climate targets, but many of the discussions at national and international climate fora do not have strong representation from subnational leadership. Cities, regions and states are increasingly critical to keeping international climate goals within reach, and they have also stepped up to fill the void left by nation states when climate action at the federal level stalls. At the same time, they often have limited resources to engage internationally, lacking international offices or have limited experience with international climate networks. 

Subnational actors implement national climate policies, serve as laboratories for policy innovation, and can be agenda-setters for climate action. Incorporating these voices into international foreign climate policy discussions would ensure that: 

  • decision-making at the highest levels is informed by on-the-ground realities;
  • subnational jurisdiction reap the benefits of national foreign policy;
  • diplomatic doors between countries are left open throughout changing political cycles at the national level. 

This event brought together representatives from the cities of New York and Bonn to discuss how they engage with their national governments and infuse their subnational perspectives into national and international discussions on climate policy. These discussions were further complemented by remarks from national-level representatives from the U.S. and Germany, who spoke to their cooperation with cities in their respective countries and how they incorporate subnational perspectives into their national and international climate policy work, as well as by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability - on how international networks further support this work. 


  • Katja Dörner, Mayor of Bonn, Vice-President of the Association of German Cities and ICLEI Co-Chair on Climate Action (virtual participation)

  • Brady Hamed, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Deputy Mayor of Operations team, NYC Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice

  • Ambassador Nina Hachigian, U.S. Special Representative for City and State Diplomacy

  • Dr. Vera Rodenhoff, Deputy Director General for International Climate Protection & International Energy Transition, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

  • Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

  • Ravi Bhalla, Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey 


  • Tobias Bernstein, Head of the Transatlantic Climate Bridge Program Office