Today, the United States Conference Mayors kicked off it’s first-ever virtual Annual Meeting. A primary element of the Annual Meeting is always the debate and consideration of resolutions that set official policy for the organization for the following year. These policy positions help guide advocacy efforts and allow mayors to speak with one voice on the biggest challenges of our time.

Before being adopted by the full membership, resolutions are debated in several standing committees. That process kicked off with the International Affairs Committee convening for a virtual meeting chaired by Conference Second Vice President Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio.

From human rights to security to economic cooperation, mayors have long led on issues of international significance and engaged in diplomacy with leaders around the world. At the meeting today, Mayor Whaley’s committee adopted four resolutions that speak to pressing global matters, including trade, international ceasefire, and denuclearization, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti offered a resolution – Supporting Cities to Seize International Opportunities and Respond to Transnational Threats – that highlights the important role of cities and encourages international cooperation to solve urgent problems like the pandemic. It urges a global approach to addressing the coronavirus, including breaking down barriers to needed medical supplies, and promotes the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, among other priorities.

Another resolution from Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie promotes peace and security during this global crisis. It supports a U.N. call for ceasefires to allow nations to address the coronavirus and urges U.S. lawmakers to redirect current security spending to focus on human needs like health care and housing and food security.

Two resolutions focused on international trade. Recognizing the ongoing economic challenges stemming from COVID-19, Mayors John Giles of Mesa and Kevin Faulconer of San Diego offered a resolution that encourages a smooth and cooperative implementation of the recently-passed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. And Mayor Garcetti also offered a resolution that calls for the United States to engage with the United Kingdom to reach a comprehensive trade agreement.

Adopted by the committee, these resolutions will now move on to the Executive Committee of the Conference for consideration and a vote next week.

In addition to the consideration of resolutions that will guide the Conference’s policy for the coming year, the committee also discussed the opportunity provided by virtual convenings to engage more deeply and regularly on issues with local leaders internationally. They committed to monthly meetings moving forward to tackle issues with international impact, most notably, COVID-19. The next monthly meeting of the committee will likely look at the importance of collaborating with Mexican officials on COVID-19, particularly as it relates to the challenges the virus presents to cities on the U.S. and Mexico border, whose residents and economies rely heavily on the daily legal crossing of people and goods.