This panel aims to address the growing impact of international agendas on cities in African countries. How are these global norms translated and appropriated? What are their disruptive effects on the relations between local and national stakeholders, urban authorities and non-institutional actors?
A large number of African countries committed themselves to the global frames on cities in the context of the United Nations '2030 Agenda'. Through strengthened partnerships and new ones, many countries have pledged to report on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda — adopted in 2016 — at events organized by the UN or other transnational bodies, such as the African Union and UCLG. These global urban agendas have an increasing grip also on cities addressing the challenges of sustainable development, urban regulations and planning, land governance, international cooperation for urban projects. To grasp the various ways stakeholders appropriate and translate these recommendations, research has questioned mechanisms of participation and negotiation practices of local stakeholders. This panel aims to address the equally disruptive effects of these agendas for urban governance and the implementation of urban policies. It seeks to shed light on the processes of partnerships and financing that reactivate or create new tensions related to such global political arena. Who is likely to have the last word in what is emerging in terms of reforms and funding? Do national governments rethink their urban agendas at the 'urban Africa' scale in a much more unified manner? Are we witnessing real windows of opportunities, or the limits of local mobilization despite recommendations to build concertation and to involve local governments? However, do these difficulties allow certain urban authorities to assert their position? Relatedly, what is their political legitimacy vis-à-vis non-institutional actors that have become part of the urban debate?