Statement: Migration makes cities grow; cities make migration work - International Migrants Day 2020
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#WeTogether, city leaders, under the auspices of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the International Centre for Migration and Policy Development (ICMPD) and UN-Habitat, share a commitment to improve urban migration governance. On International Migrants Day, we underline our leading role in creating more inclusive societies.
Migration has shaped our cities and make them hubs of opportunities and innovation. We are at the forefront of human mobility, implementing migration-related policies and realising the global agendas (Global compact for migration, Global Compact on refugees, Agenda 2030, Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda).
Migration, a natural phenomenon, is a key factor towards social transformation, nurturing cultural diversity, fostering innovation and empowering economies. For this to occur, we need to develop communities based on shared values, ready to step up to common challenges and committed to provide equal opportunities within our territories. A renewed sense of trust, justice and reciprocity for all residents is critical to achieve these goals. As local and regional governments, we are in a unique position to promote successful living together and provide equal access to human rights and basic services for everyone in our communities. We aim at contributing to rebalance the narrative on migration by drawing on migrants' potential to benefit cities, their economies and societies. At the same time, we do not shy away from addressing legitimate concerns of our residents by offering the tools at our disposal to address mounting fears and perceptions.
We have stepped up, in the face of the pandemic, demonstrating vital leadership in the response to the needs of all our residents. We continue to implement policies and initiatives that support the universality of human rights, ensuring that everyone, regardless of legal status, has the right to a standard of living which is adequate for the health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services. Further, we are strengthening the values of solidarity and sense of belonging by empowering migrants and refugees to be part of COVID-19 emergency response and recovery plans.
Migration will continue to be a reality, an opportunity, and a challenge faced by cities. We cannot be left alone in this process. Effective inclusion measures require a multi-stakeholder governance system with support from national governments and international organizations. Migration policies should contemplate cities’ contributions and needs, and must be developed and implemented with adequate resources, which is a challenge that remains too often underestimated.
On International Migrants Day we:
- Reaffirm that cities are committed to ensure access to rights for all, and, even if migration competences rest with national governments, their impact is local, which makes cities key players on migration;
- Acknowledge the increasing recognition of cities’ role in the implementation of the global agendas such as the Global Compact for Migration, the Global Compact for Refugees, the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda;
- Recall that by making migration work for all, local and regional governments contribute the implementation of these global agendas;
- Call on international organizations to continue and increase their support to empower local and regional governments, in their efforts to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable for all their residents;
- Ask national governments to acknowledge the leading role of cities in migration governance and include them at all levels of the decision making process;
- Commit to contribute to the improvement of migration governance, to protect the human rights and wellbeing of migrants, refugees and ultimately all residents, to build communities based on shared values and equal opportunities for all, and to carry out projects that focus on balancing the narrative on migration and address concerns of our residents.