The Global Cities Hub will take part in the 14th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), starting tomorrow, in Geneva (23-25 January 2024). With a whole delegation of local and regional governments (LRGs) mobilized by the GFMD Mayors Mechanism, LRGs will deliver strong messages about their bold and innovative actions to protect and assist migrants and refugees, including through the Call to Local Action that delivered over 120 pledges to implement both UN Migration and Refugees Compacts.
Of particular interest, the French GFMD chair has set one of its 6 priorities on the issue of “multi-level governance of migration. One roundtable will discuss the need to bring together the various stakeholders for improved migration management (Roundtable 6, 25 January, 9:30-12:00). Further, the GFMD Mayors Mechanism will provide space for dedicated dialogue between national, regional and local governments to discuss joint action and concrete solutions for greater collaboration on migration policymaking between various levels of governments (National to local networking meeting, 25 January, 13:30-15:00).
Today, the vast majority of migrants go to cities, in search of safety, housing, education and work. Some cities have taken concrete action to deal with these arrivals. For instance, Barcelona, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Montevideo, Quezon City have set up “one stop shops” for migrants and refugees to access a wide range of services through a dedicated point. Montreal and Sao Paulo train their public institutions and employees to make sure that access to public services is non-discriminatory. Others, such as Accra, eThekwini, Haho, Sfax, Brus, Nairobi or Paris, invest to improve data collection to better address specific needs in their communities.
However, cities cannot do it alone. They need the adequate enabling legal and policy environment and resources to ensure equal access to public services becomes a reality for everyone. In particular, as local governments are asked to do more with less, there is a need for local governments to get direct and increased access to international funding.
The GFMD is a great space to discuss these issues openly, given that it formally recognises the critical role of local governments in migration governance. It provides the setting for national and local governments to identify and implement solutions hand-in-hand.