The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) is a new initiative to help cities have their voices and interests reflected in international deliberations and policies concerning refugees and migrants.

The objective of the MMC is to empower and enable cities with knowledge, connections, and technical assistance to engage in migration diplomacy and policy-making on a regional and international level.

Why a new initiative?

Cities are at the center of global mobility. In 2018, a majority of the world’s population lived in cities and other urban settlements. That number continues to rise as many refugees and other migrants arrive and settle in cities. In 2015, 22 “global cities” hosted 44 million international migrants, which is 18 percent of the world total.

Cities are on the frontlines of welcoming refugees and migrants, carrying out the lion’s share of reception and service provision. Furthermore, they are laboratories where solutions to the most pressing migration challenges of our era are already being tested.

Their experiences should—and must—be heard and consulted at all levels of government to ensure that international migration policy is crafted in a way that is coherent, pragmatic and reflects realities on the ground.

There is an urgent need to accelerate action on migration and a growing recognition that cities are part of the solution.

Cities and city networks carry out urban diplomacy at the global level on a range of issues and are increasingly involved in migration policy. The MMC’s distinguishing feature and added value will be to act as a focal point of expertise to support cities and city networks so as to enhance their voice, action and influence on migration and refugee issues.

What does the Mayors Migration Council do?

The MMC will support cities and city networks to 1) effectively engage in migration diplomacy and policy-making on a regional and international level, 2) develop initiatives at the local, regional or international levels on migration issues, and 3) facilitate mobilization of resources accordingly. The MMC will do this by:

Providing Support

Provide technical assistance to city leadership to develop strategies and build coalitions at the request of cities.


Facilitate communication and collaboration between cities and other actors in partnership with inter-city networks.


Insert the perspectives of cities into important global and regional policy discussions, facilitate connections with new funding sources and streamline efforts to reduce duplication and relieve burdens on city leadership engaging in this work.


Assist cities in the development, dissemination and amplification of advocacy materials, such as public statements, editorials and social media campaigns.

Creating New Tools

Commission new research and provide a repository of information, tools and resources that can inform policy-making decisions and deliberations.

The MMC, run by a nimble expert team, will be guided by a small, distinguished Leadership Board of select mayors from diverse geographies and migration contexts.

A strategic partner of the Mayors Migration Council, since its inception, is C40 Cities, the global network of mayors committed to urgent action on climate change, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. C40 Cities connects more than 96 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 700 million people and one quarter of the global economy. With the Mayors Migration Council, it seeks to tackle the intertwined challenges of migration and climate change in cities.

The MMC will work closely with established and recognized city networks, most notably UCLG and the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments. The MMC will also partner closely with the International Organization for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency.

The MMC is supported by the Government of Switzerland and the Open Society Foundations.

Who is Involved?

The MMC’s work will be carried out by a small team of experts from the fields of city government, international diplomacy, city networks, migration and humanitarian work.

A Leadership Board of Mayors will advise on the MMC’s work. The Leadership Board is comprised of:

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Bruno Covas

São Paulo, Brazil

Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles, USA

Georgios Kaminis

Athens, Greece

Erias Lukwago

Kampala, Uganda

Corine Mauch

Zürich, Switzerland

Valerie Plante

Montreal, Canada

Marvin Rees

Bristol, England

Giuseppe Sala

Milan, Italy

Yousef Shawarbeh

Amman, Jordan

How can my city get involved?

As partner cities

The MMC is a resource open to all cities everywhere. The MMC encourages cities to reach out with ideas or questions, whether to learn how to engage with the international system or to access knowledge, expertise and tools. The MMC team will focus on outreach to “secondary cities” as well, that are largely underrepresented in international migration policy efforts. Interested mayors or senior city staff should correspond with contact@mayorsmigrationcouncil.org.

As Leadership Board Mayors

Leadership Board Mayors provide strategic guidance to the MMC. Mayors are nominated to the Leadership Board to serve 2-year terms. When a seat on the Leadership Board is vacated, cities’ leadership can contact the MMC to nominate mayors who will then be selected by the existing Leadership Board and supporting partners, with consideration made to preserving the diversity in cities and migration contexts represented on the Board.