Children and Caregivers Press Release

Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees Announces Six City Grantees Delivering Solutions for Children and Caregivers

Six city grantees announced today are Amman (Jordan), Dunaivtsi (Ukraine), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Milan (Italy), Montevideo (Uruguay), Ramallah (Palestine).

City grantees will receive US$1.2 million and technical resources from the Mayors Migration Council with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

New York City, June 20, 2023 — On World Refugee Day, the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) announced six new city grantees of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees: Children and Caregivers. Launched in partnership with the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, this new chapter of the fund directs financial and technical resources to city governments delivering solutions for migrant or displaced children and their families.

Worldwide, more than 43 million children were forcibly displaced in 2022, accounting for 40 percent of all refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people last year. With 70 percent of the world’s displaced seeking refuge in urban areas, more and more children are looking to cities as a space for safety, development, and learning. Mayors around the world are taking action, but often have limited access to financial resources to bring this work to scale.

“The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s investment in the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees is an important step towards our commitment to grant 25% of our new global funding portfolio to local actors over the coming years,” said Peter Laugharn, CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “The philanthropic community can be a role model and start investing in cities now.” 

The six city grantees announced today span six nations on three continents and collectively represent nearly 10 million residents. The most common themes of the awarded projects focus on early childhood health and development, child-friendly urban design, and climate action. Many also include a gender-equality lens and holistic access to services for caregivers. All projects will be designed and/or delivered in partnership with affected communities.

“There is no better way to lay the foundation for inclusive and prosperous urban communities than to invest in children’s physical and mental health, well-being, and learning capacity,” said Michael Feigelson, Chief Executive Officer of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. “We join the Mayors Migration Council and mayors worldwide in investing in migrant and displaced children as future innovators and entrepreneurs that will make their cities thrive.”

The selected projects include:

  • Amman Children’s Climate Academy and Park (Amman, Jordan): In Amman, Jordan, Mayor Yousef Shawarbeh will rehabilitate an open space near the Al-Hussein Refugee Camp to create a public park where refugee and Jordanian children can play, interact, and learn. Besides introducing new greenery, the park will include the city’s first Children’s Climate Academy to educate the next generation of Amman residents on environmental stewardship. 
  • A Home Away From Harm (Dunaivtsi, Ukraine): In Dunaivtsi, Ukraine, Mayor Velina Zaiats will repurpose an abandoned hospital to provide housing and social services to internally displaced children and families fleeing the ongoing conflict in the region. After the war, the plan is to turn the space into a children’s camp or rehabilitation center for domestic and gender-based violence survivors.
  • Ciudadanos Integrados Guayaquil (Guayaquil, Ecuador): In Guayaquil, Ecuador, Mayor Aquiles Álvarez will open a Municipal Center for Citizen Integration. The center will provide legal assistance, psychological support, educational integration, and entrepreneurship training to migrants, refugees, and Ecuadorian returnees coming into the city, including children and adolescents.  
  • First Steps in Milan (Milan, Italy): In Milan, Italy, Mayor Giuseppe Sala will launch personalized educational and orientation plans for newly arrived migrant and refugee families with young children aged 0-6 years waiting to access ordinary municipal services or national refugee reception services. Using a two-generational approach, the program will introduce playgrounds and flexible preschool and daycare services for children, while providing their caregivers with job training, language courses, and cultural workshops. 
  • Resound (Montevideo, Uruguay): In Montevideo, Uruguay, Mayor Carolina Cosse will establish the city’s first-ever early childhood care center for migrant and displaced families. The center will specialize in providing female caregivers with legal, medical, and employment support, while giving their children access to food, recreational activities, and a safe space to grow. Through this holistic approach, mothers and children will have greater access to their rights.
  • Durable Qaddura (Ramallah, Palestine): In Ramallah, Palestine, Mayor Issa Kassis will upgrade Qaddura Refugee Camp’s solid waste collection system and rehabilitate its park to improve the quality of life for children living in the camp. To maximize the success of these interventions, the city will also run environmental campaigns that allow children to learn about, and contribute to, ecologically sustainable activities. 

City grantees were selected from among 200 city governments based on key criteria, including anticipated impact, engagement of affected communities, commitment from city leadership, and likelihood of institutionalization or replication. Chaired by Vittoria Zanuso, MMC Executive Director, the Selection Committee included former mayors, subject-matter experts, and youth representatives, including Sana Ali Mustafa, CEO, Asylum Access; Nisreen Elsaim, Chair of UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change; Patti Miller, CEO, Too Small to Fail; Jennifer Musisi, former Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority; and Maria Teresa Saenz Surita, former Mayor of Boa Vista, Brazil. 

Each city will be awarded US$200,000 in addition to technical support over 12 months to bring their projects to life, with the support of the MMC and its Strategic Partners: the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40 Cities), Metropolis, UN Migration Agency (IOM), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 

Today’s announcement builds momentum towards the 2023 UN Global Refugee Forum taking place on December 12-15 in Geneva (Switzerland), where the MMC and its partners will announce new city pledges to the UN Global Compact on Refugees.

“With city leadership and commitment to accelerating global action on migration and displacement, comes a call to the international community to invest in cities,” said Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director of the Mayors Migration Council. “We invite more donors to join the GCF marketplace and fund more cities directly in support of the world’s migrants and refugees, especially the youngest among them.” 

Visit and follow #GlobalCitiesFund on social media for more information. To become a partner, contact

For press inquiries, contact Cynthia Nahhas, Communications Associate at the Mayors Migration Council, at or +1 (917) 246-2586. 

For general background and inquiries, visit or email


Mayoral Quotes:

“Amman has shown remarkable compassion and embraced migrants and refugees, offering them a sanctuary of safety, hospitality, and opportunity, where social inclusion and justice are prioritized for all residents. The Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees will allow us to introduce new green and climate resilient spaces where children, including refugees, can play, socialize, and learn about the environment to maintain a united community.” —Yousef Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman, Jordan; MMC Leadership Board Member

“Since the beginning of the war, Dunaivtsi has received over 10,000 people coming from different regions of Ukraine, and at the moment, we have nearly 4,000 internally displaced people in our city. The Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees will help us improve the lives of children and families displaced today, while building our capacity to address future needs once the war is over.” —Velina Zaiats, Mayor of Dunaivtsi, Ukraine

“Migrants, refugees, and Ecuadorian returnees arriving in Guayaquil will benefit immensely from the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, which will make it possible to open a new Municipal Center for Citizen Integration in the city’s Bus Terminal which will provide key services for those who need them the most.” —Aquiles Álvarez, Mayor of Guayaquil, Ecuador

“In our city, over 20% of the population is foreign residents, more than twice the national average. With the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, Milan aims to further improve the provision of services dedicated to early childhood. This project will demonstrate the ability of cities to address human mobility through a long term and inclusive approach in line with the Global Compacts.” —Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, Italy; MMC Leadership Board Member

“The City of Montevideo is thrilled to be a grantee of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees. This funding will help us create our city’s first-ever early childhood aid and care center for migrant and displaced families, which will offer social support for marginalized migrant women and children.” —Carolina Cosse, Mayor of Montevideo, Uruguay; MMC Leadership Board Member

“Thanks to the support of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, the City of Ramallah will improve Qaddura Refugee Camp’s solid waste systems, rehabilitate the poorly developed recreational park, and promote awareness-building campaigns to develop the next generation of environmental stewards. This project will protect the public health of all living in the camp, especially our youngest new residents and future leaders: children.”—Issa Kassis, Ramallah, Palestine 

Strategic Partners Quotes:

“The Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees provides critical support to fill the unmet needs of migrants and displaced people that IOM sees on the ground every day. We encourage the international community to join us in supporting this model and to invest in responses that boost local government capacity.” —António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration

“With 60 percent of the world’s refugees and some 80 percent of internally displaced populations living in cities, the support of mayors and local authorities is critical in helping UNHCR meet their basic needs. UNHCR is proud to be a partner in the innovative Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees which will inject international financing into municipal projects, where it is needed most.” —Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

“UN-Habitat has a long tradition in empowering local governments in their role including in strengthening their capacity to generate local revenue and access and manage external funds. A boost in funding often allows to experiment with new approaches to achieve social cohesion, which is critical to unlocking the positive contribution of migrants to their cities.” —Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme

“Thanks to the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, cities are leading the way in delivering inclusive climate action for, and in partnership with, migrants and refugees. At C40, we are proud to be part of this initiative. Migrants and refugees, especially children, suffer the double injustice of discrimination and the climate crisis. The recent news of the maritime disasters claiming children’s lives deeply impacts all of us. A healthier and more sustainable future for migrant and displaced children, and a green and just transition for all, is as urgent as ever.” —Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

“City Planning in the 21st Century can no longer be considered an activity limited to professional planners and policy-makers: all residents, including migrant and refugee children, should become part of contemporary city planning by contributing their knowledge, experiences, and ideas. As the global network of major cities and metropolitan areas, Metropolis is proud to partner with the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees to make this aspiration a reality.”Jordi Vaquer, Secretary General, Metropolis


About the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees

The Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees (GCF) is the Mayors Migration Council’s (MMC) response to the unmet needs of cities as they support migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the face of pressing challenges, from global pandemics to the climate crisis. 

By directly funding cities to implement inclusive programs of their own design, the GCF builds precedents of fiscal feasibility in city governments that are often disregarded by donors with low risk tolerance.The GCF is led by the MMC in partnership with six key Strategic Partners: the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40 Cities), Metropolis, the UN Migration Agency (IOM), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Beginning in 2021 with a $1,000,000 seed investment to support five cities, in less than two years the GCF has become an $8,000,000 fund supported by five donors with a pipeline of 28 city grantees. These cities directly support thousands of migrants, refugees, and marginalized residents across three thematic chapters: Inclusive Climate Action, Inclusive Pandemic Response, and Children and Caregivers.

With the support of our Strategic Partners and our key donors — the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung — the GCF has exceeded our goal to raise funding for 22 cities by the end of 2022 and nearly 80 percent of past GCF city grantees continue to advance their projects through external or internally generated financial resources.

A Paris Peace Forum 2022 Scale Up Project and a Fast Company 2022 World Changing Idea, the GCF has created a marketplace of investment-ready, city-led solutions for migrants and refugees with the potential to shift humanitarian and development responses to those best placed to deliver them: cities.

To learn more, visit the GCF website.

About the Mayors Migration Council

The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) is a mayor-led coalition that accelerates ambitious global action on migration and displacement. With most of the world’s migrants and displaced people living in cities, our mission is to use the power of city diplomacy and practice to create a world where urban migrants, displaced people, and receiving communities can thrive.

To fulfill our vision, we help mayors and the cities they lead: i) influence policy decisions at the national and international level; ii) secure financial and technical resources to implement local solutions; iii) advance global action on emerging policy frontiers; iv) raise awareness among global audiences; v) generate and share knowledge grounded in local experiences; vi) build relationships with local and global champions.

Created by mayors for mayors, we are a nimble team of political advisors and urban practitioners led by a Leadership Board of global city leaders, including the mayors of Amman, Bristol, Dhaka North, Freetown, Kampala, Milan, Montevideo, Montréal, and Zürich. We are managed as a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and operate with the institutional support of the Open Society Foundations, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, in addition to other project-based donors.

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


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