Global Refugee Forum

Learn how the Mayors Migration Council is delivering critical momentum to make the UN Global Compact on Refugees a reality.

Mayors during a Mayors Migration Council press conference at the United Nations in New York, N.Y., on Monday, July 15, 2019.
CREDIT: Bryan Anselm/Redux for Open Society Foundations

In 2018, UN member states adopted a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration (GCM) to set international standards and a pathway forward to achieving common goals on migration and refugee protection. Reviewed every four years, they serve as the roadmap for the years to come.

The MMC was founded in 2018 to help mayors influence the negotiations of both Compacts and ensure that the final drafts of these foundational UN agreements reflected the priorities of cities and their vital role going forward. 

It is through this successful city diplomacy that local authorities are now recognized as key stakeholders in the implementation, follow up, and review of the Compacts.

Upon the adoption of the Compacts, MMC mayors further demonstrated their commitment and endorsed the Marrakech Mayors Declaration —pledging to advance the principles and objectives of the Compacts, to continue to participate internationally, and to take direct action within their communities to improve the lives of migrants and refugees. Critically, mayors agreed it was essential to advance both Compacts in unison rather than addressing migrants and refugees as fundamentally separate populations.

Our Progress

In December 2019, the MMC secured city access to the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), the first-ever global review of the GCR. 

In partnership with the Government of Switzerland and the refugee-led G-100 Network, the MMC hosted a session on “Realizing Refugee Inclusion with City and Refugee Leaders.” This session was the sole entry point for a small group of cites to access the GRF, including our Leadership Board members from Amman, Athens, and São Paulo, who called for greater city access to the GRF in recognition of their proactive role in refugee inclusion. 

Building on this momentum, in October 2021, the MMC and partners co-hosted a discussion with 200 city representatives from around the world to take stock of local GCR implementation. 

As a result, UNHCR now increasingly recognizes cities as valued partners, including within their GCR Digital Platform, and has granted cities with formal access to the next Global Refugee Forum in December 2023, where the MMC and partners will mobilize a delegation of mayors to participate in official UN sessions and elevate city pledges through the Call to Local Action for Migrants and Refugees


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