Introduction to the Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development

This Forum gives a platform to mutual knowledge sharing and support, to empower and enhance the capacities of cities worldwide in managing migration for local development. Who is participating? Why now?

Joint Migration and Development Initiative
28 September 2016
Picture 1 - Mayoral Forum Quito 2015.jpg

Cécile Riallant, JMDI programme manager, speaking at the Second Mayoral Forum in Quito in November 2015. [Click to enlarge]

The Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development is an annual gathering of mayors and city leaders serving to promote globally relevant policy dialogue, foster the exchange of experiences in governing migration, and strategize on how to work collectively. It seeks to support new and innovative approaches to urban governance in contexts of greater diversity, and to showcase city leadership in the implementation of migration policies for inclusive growth.

It is a rotating city-led Forum that is supported by the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), UNITAR, IOM, KNOMAD of the World Bank and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation. The upcoming Third Mayoral Forum is being hosted by Quezon City in Metropolis Manila, Philippines and also supported by the Asian Development Bank and the Philippine Commission for Filipinos Overseas (CFO).

Who is participating?

The Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development brings mayors, city officials, civil society, international organisations and academia from around the globe and who are working in migration and local development together to share their expertise, good practices and lessons learnt and bring forward global understanding on how migration can be harnessed for development at the local level.

Why now?

This Forum is a reflection of the current global context of increasing urbanisation, decentralised and human mobility which is putting cities and other local and regional authorities at the forefront of dealing with both the positive and negative effects of migration and displacement.

Indeed, migration and displacement is mainly an urban phenomenon. Some 60% of the total 14.4 million refugees and 80% of the 38 million internally displaced are thought to live in urban areas. Moreover, the majority of migrants and refugees living in urban areas out of the total number of refugees has increased by 8% in the last three years. It therefore comes as no surprise that cities are the main entry points for migrants, since they provide the necessary economic opportunities and the desired social networks.

Cities have therefore become important learning and implementation laboratories, where practical solutions and innovative partnerships with non-State actors are being developed, upon which a new pragmatic paradigm to migration management can be built. Thus, some cities are increasingly looking beyond traditional migration management towards innovative and inclusive approaches to not only integrating migrants economically, socially and culturally, but building on the diversity they bring to transform their cities into prosperous, attractive and dynamic international hubs.

This is entirely in line with current global thinking which has recognised the positive contribution of migration to development within the new 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda whereby Target 7 of Sustainable Development Goal 10 calls for the facilitation of “orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies”. This has also been strongly echoed in the New Urban Agenda that has resulted from the Habitat III process whereby migration and displacement have been recognised as key elements to be taken into account in the management of cities in order to ensure inclusive sustainable urban development.

Cities are at the forefront of integrating newcomers, and they often do so without the support and resources needed.  While some cities are thriving in this role, others lack the competencies, support and fiscal and human resources to do so. As a group of mayors, assembled at First Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development, in Barcelona, conceded: “We receive migrants but often act beyond our powers; we need more tools.”

This Forum therefore provides a platform for mutual knowledge sharing and support in order to empower and enhance the capacities of cities worldwide in managing migration for local development.

Previous forums

The first Forum took place in June 2014 and was hosted by the City of Barcelona and which saw the release of the 'Call of Barcelona' signed by all participants and calling for cities, as first responders to migration and displacement, to have their role and expertise recognised and supported at national and international levels. The second Forum took place In Quito, Ecuador in November 2015 and led to the creation of the Quito Local Agenda which outlines how cities can and do contribute to the implementation of the migration-related targets of the new Sustainable Development Goals under 11 action areas.

Major themes

The Third Mayoral Forum is taking place on 29-30 September, 2016, and looking at how to implement the Quito Local Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, it focuses on ensuring the inclusion of vulnerable migrants and displaced persons to ensure that no one is left behind, as well as on how to successfully engage with and tap into the extraordinary development potential of the diaspora and migrants' associations.

Main objectives and outcomes

The objectives of the 3rd Mayoral Forum to take place in Quezon City are to: 

  • Promote a globally relevant policy dialogue for mayors and municipal leadership to strategise on how to work collectively, stay engaged, and gain support for their policies and activities relating to promoting economic development in a context of diversity;
  • Support new and innovative approaches to urban governance in contexts of greater diversity, and to showcase city leadership in the implementation of migration policies for inclusive growth including through the implementation of the new 2030 UN Sustainable Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda as espoused in the Quito Local Agenda endorsed by the Second Mayoral Forum on 13 November 2015;
  • Share experiences and concrete recommendations on how to progress in leveraging the development outcomes of greater migration and mobility, and successfully managing diversity;
  • Launch new initiatives with on the ground impact within and between cities, and agree on the parameters for such initiatives;
  • Bridge macro and micro levels of governance by sharing information and insights on inter-governmental processes from the annual GFMD (taking place on 10-12 December 2016 in Dhaka), to the UN-Habitat III Conference (taking place on 17-20 October 2016 in Quito), and the UN Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants (19 September 2016), in addition to supporting in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the work of Regional Consultative Processes on migration;
  • Supplement existing regional and international initiatives by connecting with the inroads being made at the sub-national level

More information

For more information, visit the website here or contact the JMDI at [email protected]

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