Climate Migration Press Release

“Put People at the Center of Climate Action”: Mayors Pledge to Accelerate Global Responses to Climate and Migration

C40-MMC mayors issue vision for inclusive climate action that protects people affected by climate displacement and leaves no one behind in the green transition.

Statement of principles endorsed by mayors of Barcelona, Bristol, Dakar, Dhaka North, Freetown, Houston, Lima, Los Angeles, and Milan.  

London, 13 October – As world leaders prepare to meet in early November for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, mayors from all around the world commit to “put people at the center of climate action” by protecting those most affected by climate hazards and displacement and leaving no one behind in the green transition.

Today’s mayoral commitment comes at a critical inflection point for global action. As G20 leaders met yesterday for an extraordinary session to address the situation in Afghanistan, mayors urge them not to neglect the impact of the climate breakdown on migrants and refugees and its potential to amplify displacement pressures globally.  

The statement of principles was adopted in the second meeting of the C40 Cities and Mayors Migration Council (MMC) Global Mayors Task Force on Climate and Migration, co-led by the Mayor of Dhaka North, Mohammad Atiqul Islam, and the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, and was endorsed by the Mayors of Barcelona, Bristol, Dakar, Dhaka North, Freetown, Houston, Lima, Los Angeles, and Milan. 

This statement is part of a broader mayor-led Action Agenda to be launched in November at COP26, which will make direct recommendations to national governments and the international community.

“We look forward to bringing our concrete recommendations to COP26 and to working with Member States so that the urban dimension of climate and migration is included in each country’s Nationally Determined Contributions to achieve the Paris Agreement,” said Mayor Mohammad Atiqul Islam of Dhaka North.  

“85% of climate finance targets global north countries,” continued Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown. “If we want to address climate and migration, the majority of which occurs in Africa, Latin America and Asia, it is critical we focus on equity – not just within countries but across countries.”

 Today’s announcement comes after a series of mayoral and technical level meetings in consultation with leading experts, including local representatives of affected migrant communities.

Statement of Principles:

We, as mayors of major cities across the globe, deal with the realities of climate change and migration on a daily basis. This includes protecting residents from extreme heat, flooding, or other hazards; welcoming people displaced by climate impacts domestically or internationally; and promoting climate justice and leaving no one behind in the green transition. To date, our efforts have been delivered with limited resources and fragmented policy and financing regimes.

Together, we commit to accelerate global responses to climate and migration and to govern our action and advocacy by the following principles:

  1. Put people at the center of our climate action by protecting them from climate hazards and by leveraging our green and just recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic to create opportunity for all, especially the most marginalized.
  2. Promote inclusive and equitable climate action, recognizing that the climate crisis disproportionately impacts vulnerable and marginalized groups, including migrants and displaced people.
  3. Help people adapt in place or move away from hazard-prone areas in a way that preserves the assets, rights and dignity of those who move, and is ecologically sustainable.
  4. Endeavor to welcome people moving or displaced into our cities, including for climate-related reasons, ensuring fundamental rights and equitable access to services, regardless of migration or legal status.
  5. Deliver a just transition that provides good quality jobs to migrants and displaced people in our cities, including in the informal sector, and recognizes their contributions to greening our local economies and delivering climate action.
  6. Partner with migrants, displaced, and diaspora communities, listening to and amplifying their voices in our local policy-making and our national and global advocacy on climate and migration.
  7. Pursue and share data and information to help our cities and residents assess and reduce climate risks and increase resilience.
  8. Advocate for supportive national and international policies and direct funding to cities to meet and exceed the goals set in the Global Compacts for Migration and Refugees, the Paris Agreement, and other global agendas.
  9. Engage in multi-stakeholder partnerships to address climate and migration challenges, enhancing our efforts to cooperate with national governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector.
  10. Model behavior by investing our own city resources in inclusive climate action, leading the way in planning, preparing, and responding to the impact of the climate crisis on migration now.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact and Anne McPherson, Mayors Migration Council, at  

Visit the MMC Climate Migration Knowledge Hub and follow #C40MMCTaskForce on social media for more information. For general background and inquiries, email Giovanni Pagani at   



Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, said: “Barcelona has a long track record of putting climate justice at the heart of our public policies. The vision on the intersection of climate and migration developed with the C40-MMC Task Force over the last few months , complements this work and is fully aligned with our goals of pursuing fairer and more equitable climate action for all.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “To address climate and ecological breakdown and related migration, cities need sustainable and predictable for retrofitting our homes, for creating green jobs, and for investing in long-term sustainability. We are inviting donors and the private sector to work with us pro-actively to implement the principles of the C40-MMC Task Force to take action and are calling to make funding directly available to the cities now rather than tie up funds in bureaucracy.”

Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar, said: “Extreme rainfall events are a significant hazard for our region, where thousands of people have been displaced due to rain flooding and where 60 percent of internal migrants in Senegal settle, often in risk-prone areas. The C40-MMC Task Force’s call for better municipal access to climate adaptation finance is critical for Dakar and other African cities at the forefront of the climate crisis and human mobility.

Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, said: “Houston has experienced first-hand the impact of climate and migration on our city – whether it is welcoming with open arms newly arrived Haitians fleeing hurricanes and earthquakes or relocating some of our existing residents out of the way of harmful floodplains. Our commitment to leave no one behind is paramount, and that’s why the C40-MMC Task Force’s principles make clear we cannot ignore the disproportionate impact of the climate breakdown on already marginalized groups like migrants.”

Jorge Muñoz Wells, Mayor of Lima, said: “To address climate migration, we need a new global commitment to build local resilience and adaptation capacity, while including all regardless of their status. With our endorsement of the C40-MMC Task Force’s principles we call on national and international partners to work with us and create a new scenario for the future together.”

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, said: “The climate crisis is a threat our residents confront on a daily basis, and our decisions as Mayors must account for the changing circumstances that can uproot people’s lives. As we continue to forge ahead in this make-or-break decade of climate action, we have to ensure that nobody is left behind — and this pledge reinforces our commitment to ensure that our cities are ready to welcome people displaced by climate impacts with open arms.”

Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, said: “When joining the C40-MMC Task Force on Climate and Migration I saw a unique opportunity to ensure that the social and the economic component of our inclusive climate action are mutually reinforcing: protecting those who are most vulnerable to climate impacts, but also promoting equal access to green and good jobs for all residents, including migrants. I commit to drive forward our recommendations for an inclusive Covid-19 recovery and just transition at COP26 in dialogue with our national and international counterparts.”

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities, said: “Public investment to stimulate recovery from COVID-19 – at levels that are unprecedented in peacetime – creates an opportunity to unlock greater support for cities, from national governments, multilateral organisations and financial institutions, not only to address the root causes of vulnerability and climate displacement but also to ensure that green and good jobs are made available for everyone, including migrants, displaced people and refugees. The vision approved today signals a concrete step towards this shift in action and narrative.”

Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director of the Mayors Migration Council, said: “With the C40-MMC Task Force’s unanimous endorsement of the principles, there is a clear opportunity for cities to lead and set the agenda rather than react to or follow what States put on the table at COP26. Global action to support people affected by climate displacement, led by cities, will not only help those in urgent need during this moment, but will allow us to build communities that are able to withstand known and unknown shocks in the future.”


About the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group 

C40 is a network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities who are working to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone, everywhere can thrive. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using a science-based and people-focused approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities. Through a Global Green New Deal, mayors are working alongside a broad coalition of representatives from labor, business, the youth climate movement and civil society to go further and faster than ever before. The current Chair of C40 is Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania. 

To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit our website and C40 Knowledge Hub or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About the Mayors Migration Council

The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) is a mayor-led advisory and advocacy organization that helps cities shape national and international policy on migration and displacement. Our mission is to ensure that global responses to pressing challenges—from pandemics to climate change—both reflect and address realities on the ground for the benefit of migrants, displaced persons, and the communities that receive them.

Member of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, we also sit on the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the Steering Committee of the UN Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund and the Mayors Mechanism of the Global Forum on Migration and Development.  

We are led by a Leadership Board composed of the mayors of Amman, Bristol, Freetown, Kampala, Los Angeles, Milan, Montreal, and Zürich, as well as the former mayor of Athens. We operate with the financial support of Open Society Foundations, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and we are managed as a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

To learn more, please visit our website and Climate Migration Resource Hub or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

About the C40 Cities-Mayors Migration Council Global Mayors Task Force on Climate and Migration (C40-MMC Task Force):

The C40 Cities (C40) and the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) Global Mayors Task Force on Climate and Migration is a mayor-led initiative to address the impact of the climate crisis on migration in cities, inspired by C40’s Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

The C40-MMC Task Force will drive forward an Action Agenda in partnership with migrant and refugee community leaders, business leaders, and experts to be presented at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in November 2021 in dialogue with national and regional counterparts. The C40-MMC Task Force is co-led by the Mayor of Dhaka North, Bangladesh and the Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone and includes as members the Mayors of Barcelona, Spain; Bristol, United Kingdom; Dakar, Senegal; Houston, United States; Lima, Peru; Los Angeles, United States; and Milan, Italy.

For more information on the C40-MMC Task Force  visit our webpage or contact Giovanni Pagani, Senior Manager for Climate Migration, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group,


Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our latest news and updates.