Bringing together international headquarters cities and highlighting the challenges and opportunities they face was subject of a debate hosted by Alain Hutchinson, Brussels Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations.
Strasbourg, Vienna, Geneva, The Hague, Montevideo and Montreal were represented.
The discussions provided an opportunity to share best practice in this area and to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing major international cities and urban centres in terms of welcoming policies, quality of life, not to mention socio-economic, environmental and planning issues.
Hutchinson said that being a host city for international organisations imposes numerous constraints that need to be managed as effectively as possible, taking into account the sometimes divergent interests of international activity and the daily lives of local and international citizens.
The major challenges of this coexistence concern the implementation of complex urban policies in terms of land-use planning, access to housing for all, management of public spaces, safety and mobility.
The discussion was told these must reconcile the often legitimate requirements of international organisations and the daily lives of local residents.
As a major international capital and home to a multitude of supranational and intergovernmental organisations, Brussels was keen to share its experiences in this field with colleagues from other European and international headquarters cities, and to explore possibilities for future cooperation.
After the various discussions, Hutchinson invited all participants to reflect on the organisation of a network of host cities and regions at a more formal meeting in the coming months.