NEW YORK, USA – On Monday, July 15, Mayors from 10 cities around the world, representing the Mayors Migration Council Leadership Board, and others gathered during the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations to discuss city-level solutions to global migration challenges.
The global Mayors who attended the forum include:
- Yousef Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman
- Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
- Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown
- Erias Lukwago, Mayor of Kampala
- Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
- Valerie Plante, Mayor of Montreal
- Bruno Covas, Mayor of Sao Paulo
- Corine Mauch, Mayor of Zürich
- Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim
- Georgios Kaminis, former Mayor of Athens
Representing Kampala is the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Peter Kaujju, KCCA’s Head of Public and Corporate Affairs.
“Kampala City is happy that the voice of cities in addressing matters of migration is taking root, and our involvement with the Mayors Migration Council will help position cities not only at the national level but also internationally in breathing hope and life in our efforts to generate solutions,” said Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago
The international community is increasingly listening to the insights of cities, and mayors are the most vocal advocates for new ways of partnering across borders to solve global challenges.
As in the field of climate change, the work cities are doing in welcoming migrants is creating a solid foundation for better coordination and cooperation with national governments and other stakeholders.
“Cities have a vital role to play in getting these major UN agreements implemented and ensuring that the UN stays relevant,” said Ambassador David Donoghue, former Ambassador of Ireland to the United Nations, who served as the Chief Negotiator of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New York Declaration (the precursor to the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration). “I am excited to see cities stepping in, as new energy and ideas are needed.”
The leadership of cities can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. It also can yield new vigor and confidence in multilateral approaches to global problems.
Today at the United Nations, many member states are ready to hear and learn from cities and to partner with them to make progress on the challenges the international community faces in the 21st century.
“Migration is one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and it requires a pragmatic, rather than ideological, response,” said Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala.
“The concrete and innovative solutions we develop could have a major ripple effect if local efforts were better coordinated with policies at higher levels of governance.”
Mayors will discuss their pioneering solutions related to education, housing, employment, and more, and how their cities are overcoming structural constraints.
With a record-breaking number of forcibly displaced persons in the world, most of whom settle in urban centres, the mayors also spoke about how to govern their cities in ways that ensure that they are resilient, safe, inclusive, and sustainable.
The mayors emphasized the importance of city-to-city partnerships and innovation in changing international policy around migration and refugee issues.
The MMC is a new initiative led by an exceptional group of mayors united in elevating the voice of cities in inter-state meetings to advance action on migration in ways that benefit communities, migrants, and refugees. The MMC was officially launched on December 8, 2018, in Marrakech, on the margins of the UN conference that adopted the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).
The Mayors contributed to both the GCM, the first global agreement that deals with the governance of migration, and the Global Compact on Refugees.
Mayors are advocating for a seat at the international policy table to share their experiences and inform policy. At this MMC event, mayors will discuss what a greater role for local governments could mean for the international system and how to partner with cities in their work.
They will be joined by key leaders from the UN, including the director-general of the International Organization for Migration; heads of major foundations; and directors of global city networks, including C40 Cities and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
The Mayors Migration Council is supported by the Government of Switzerland and the Open Society Foundations and implemented in partnership with C40 Cities.