Pandemic Response Press Release

Mayors Migration Council Secures New Commitment from Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for Global Cities Fund for Inclusive Pandemic Response

Global Cities Fund supports city governments responding to urgent needs of migrants, refugees, and internally displaced during Covid-19.

New city grantees include Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Kampala, Uganda; Medellín, Colombia; and Quito, Ecuador.

New York, June 23 – Today, the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) announced a new $900,000 commitment from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation towards the Global Cities Fund for Inclusive Pandemic Response. Nearly doubling the Fund’s initial amount, the new contribution will provide direct financial and technical support to the city governments of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Kampala, Uganda; Medellín, Colombia; and Quito, Ecuador for Covid-19 response and recovery projects focused on supporting migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people (IDPs).

The MMC launched the Global Cities Fund in January 2021 with a $1,000,000 seed investment from the Open Society Foundations and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the UN Migration Agency (IOM), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) as strategic partners providing technical advice and support to selected city grantees.

In its initial stage, the Fund awarded the city governments of Barranquilla, Colombia; Beirut, Lebanon; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Lima, Peru; and Mexico City, Mexico. Collectively, these cities are delivering projects that directly improve the lives of over 3,000 migrants, refugees, IDPs, and marginalized host residents while strengthening each city’s commitment and capacity to sustainably support countless more. For example, the Municipality of Beirut is using the Fund to pilot its first Municipal Mobile Health Clinic, which will offer nondiscriminatory access to Covid-19 tests and vaccines and health consultations and may be used to address other public health crises in the future.

The new round of funding was announced during a virtual event hosted by the MMC and its partners to drive additional international investments to the unmet resource needs of city governments — meeting a joint commitment to support at least 22 cities by 2022.

“We’re proud to join the Mayors Migration Council in supporting the second round of the Global Cities Fund recipients. The city governments of Addis Ababa, Kampala, Medellín, and Quito have inspired us with their resourceful approaches to inclusive recovery. Their leadership will help unlock the potential of migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people as members of their community and we are excited to join them in this journey,” said Sarah Smith, Lead of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Refugee Initiative.

With the support of the Hilton Foundation, the MMC and its partners will expand the Fund’s direct support to the following projects:

  • Water Supply and Sanitation Infrastructure for IDPs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The City of Addis Ababa will provide access to critical water and sanitation infrastructure for over 1,700 IDP households living in Akaki Sub-city, addressing their immediate public health needs while improving their capacity to cope with future stresses.
  • Safety Nets for Recovery in Kampala, Uganda: The Kampala Capital City Authority will provide immediate relief and improve livelihood opportunities for refugees, migrants, and urban poor families through the “Kampala for All” initiative, while sharing lessons learned with other Ugandan cities.
  • Housing Assistance for Migrant and Displaced Families in Medellín, Colombia: The City of Medellín will expand its existing housing assistance program to benefit 400 migrant and displaced families, while improving the overall access to municipal social services for these at-risk communities.
  • Planning for Human Mobility in Quito, Ecuador: The Municipality of Quito will strengthen the comprehensive suite of social services offered to migrants and refugees through the Casa de la Inclusion community center, ratify its first ever city-wide public policy on issues of human mobility, and foster social cohesion via communication campaigns to raise the awareness on migrant rights.

“In Medellín, we seek to positively impact the lives of migrant and displaced people and families, giving them an inclusive response in the pandemic,” said Daniel Quintero, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia. “These actions allow us to continue building our Medellín Futuro plan.”  

The newly awarded projects are included in the MMC’s Global Cities Fund Project Prospectus, which elevates more than 20 city-led projects from 17 low- to middle-income countries with the potential to serve over 140,000 migrants, refugees, IDPs, and marginalized receiving communities. In total, these investment- and partnership-ready projects put forward inclusive plans, policies, and programs valued at $10,500,000 USD, with millions more dollars offered in-kind by the implementing city governments to ensure their success and sustainability.

“UNHCR salutes the commitments made by Addis Ababa, Kampala, Medellín, and Quito, to implement new projects that assist refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people, and the communities that host them, in their Covid-19 recovery. We welcome the 20 new cities that have joined the Global Cities Fund Project Prospectus and encourage others to step forward,” said UNHCR’s international protection chief, Gillian Triggs.“As we continue to see, cities are often at the forefront in the protection of people forced to flee.”

The Global Cities Fund Project Prospectus was generously funded by UCLG and produced in collaboration with IOM, UCLG, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, and staff from 20 city governments from around the world.

“The needs of cities in providing for their migrant and displaced communities will remain beyond 2022 and beyond this pandemic,” said Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director of the Mayors Migration Council. “Our ultimate vision for the Global Cities Fund is to demonstrate that cities can and should have direct access to financial and technical resources and create a model that can be replicated to ensure that global responses to pressing challenges — from pandemics to climate change — both reflect and address realities on the ground.”

Visit and follow #GlobalCitiesFund on social media for more information. For general background and inquiries, visit or email 

For press inquiries, contact Anne McPherson (; +1-917-531-4050).


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.

To fulfill our vision, we secure cities’ formal access to national, regional, and international policy deliberations; build cities’ diplomatic, advocacy, and communications skills so they can effectively influence decisions; unlock technical and financial resources to cities so they can deliver better outcomes on the ground; and help cities implement local solutions efficiently and at scale to accelerate global commitments. 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.


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