11 January 2023 – National governments and international institutions are increasingly recognizing the power of urban diplomacy. On December 23, 2022, U.S. President Biden signed the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. Section 9108 of the new law acknowledges that, “the growth of subnational cooperation has enabled States and municipalities to play an increasingly significant role in foreign policy and complement the efforts of the [U.S. State] Department.”

In the text, Congress notes that the State Department’s newly established Unit for Subnational Diplomacy, “will play a critical role in leveraging the Department’s resources to support State and municipal governments in conducting subnational engagement and increasing cooperation with foreign allies and partners.”

The law also outlines the breadth of the new Unit’s responsibility, including countering urban diplomacy efforts from the United States’ adversaries, raising awareness and support for U.S. foreign policy with American citizens, and engaging local leaders to strengthen American foreign policy.

The GPM applauds the United States for this groundbreaking law and for recognizing the critical role that local governments can play in developing and implementing national policy.