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Global Crises, Local Impacts: Key Findings & Recommendations to Date (April 2024)

— 7 minutes reading time

In late 2023, in the absence of an existing relevant playbook or guidelines for mayors and local governments, Strong Cities began receiving requests from member and non-member cities across Europe and North America for guidance and opportunities to share and learn from each other as they navigate the local impacts of global crises, such as Israel-Gaza.

Strong Cities has looked to address this lacuna through the development of a policy brief – Navigating Local Impacts of Global Crises: Ten Considerations for Mayors and Cities – Lessons from the Israel-Gaza Crisis – capturing ten lessons learned from city-led efforts to manage the impact of global crises on social cohesion. The Network is also leading a monthly webinar series for mayors and other city officials, together with independent experts and researchers, to discuss how these global crises, most recently the Israel-Gaza crisis, are manifesting in their communities and how mayors and local governments are responding. 

The event reports from the first four webinars in this series are available here: December 2023, January 2024, February 2024 and March 2024.

Below we share some key findings and recommendations from the webinar series to date (April 2024), which have convened more than 300 mayors, other local leaders and city officials and subject-matter experts.

  • Meet with affected community members regularly to hear and understand what is going on inside the communities, as well as to ask the community leaders for their help in calming tensions.
  • Listen to affected individuals and provide safe spaces for residents to freely express their fears, concerns, and even anger.
  • Coordinate with faith, ethnic and other community partners to better understand residents’ concerns and trends.
  • Acknowledge the suffering – both privately with victims and publicly with grieving communities – and demonstrate empathy through public displays of sympathy and affirmation, while carefully balancing the different and evolving needs and expectations of community members affected by a particular global crisis.
  • Communicate clearly and frequently to residents that their pain is seen and reassure residents with overt displays of enhanced public safety measures.
  • Demonstrate empathy towards the different affected communities in the city – irrespective of the mayor’s personal view – recognising that attempts to address the concerns of one community can have unintended consequences for another.
  • Speak out when a hateful or violent incident occurs – name the hate – and reaffirm the city’s values of tolerance, inclusivity and civility.
  • Reorient perspectives among affected residents towards one of shared community, while upholding impartial values.
  • Shift narratives from diametrically opposed viewpoints (‘us versus them’) to an ‘us versus us’ approach, enabling residents to view the issue as arising within a single city family.
  • Allow for peaceful, free expression while messaging the importance of dialogue and social cohesion.
  • Restore civility and dignity in conversations about emotional topics and create safe spaces for different perspectives to be shared.

Local governments and city councils should consider how they can best calm tensions and, more broadly, prevent and mitigate threats to social cohesion that global crises can pose, including by:

In addition to policy briefs and other resources, Strong Cities has a series of ‘living’ guides to support cities and local leaders. Developed through consultations with mayors and city officials in different contexts globally, the guides draw on experiences, good practices and advice from leaders and city officials around the world, and a diversity of examples of city-led approaches on prevention and response. Available in Arabic, English and French, and housed in our online Resource Hub as PDFs and multi-media tools, the Strong Cities Guides are crucial resources for in-depth training and support for mayors and city officials globally. Explore our Guides:

For more information on the Strong Cities Network, our Global Crises, Local Impacts Initiative, or other Network activities, please contact [email protected].

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