MMC Readout

MMC Readout: Cities join national governments at the 14th GFMD Summit

During the 14th Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD) Summit, cities join national governments to discuss migration governance and ask the international community to invest in cities.

Over 28 local and regional government representatives from 23 cities, regions, and city networks from across the globe, joined the 14th GFMD, taking place in Geneva from 23-25th of January. 

The Summit, hosted by the Government of France, brought together over 1300 participants, representing over 123 countries, from national and local governments, civil society, the private sector and youth.  Under the overarching theme: ‘From environmental concerns to cultural aspects of migration’, participants discussed six thematic priorities, including the impact of climate change on human mobility, narratives and multi-level governance of migration.

28 local governments representatives joined the Summit, of which 19 spoke in the Summit’s sessions as panelists, each elevating our Call to Local Action for Migrants and Refugees, the pathway for local governments to politically commit to the implementation of the Migration and Refugee Compacts, and a concrete tool to showcase local and pragmatic actions that directly benefits migrants and refugees.

Here is a summary of advancements from the week, including key moments from local governments and announcements from partners.

GFMD Highlights
  • As a key milestone, The GFMD Mayors Mechanism hosted a networking meeting on Localizing Global Migration Goals to Accelerate the 2030 Agenda. Opened by Amy Pope, Director General (DG) of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the session facilitated a dialogue between the governments of Colombia, Ecuador, France and the United States, and local government leaders from Barranquilla, Djinany, Paris, Tlaxcala and Quezon.
  • At the session, Ambassador Gustavo Gallón, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations in Geneva said: “Colombia would not have been able to welcome millions of migrants and refugees without cities. Cities like Barranquilla are at the forefront of the response with their initiatives to integrate and empower migrants and refugees.”
  • The session also saw the official handover of the 2023 local pledges collected through the Call to Local Action to DG Pope in her capacity as Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration.

  • “Cities is where the action happens. When we talk about migration and displacement, we’re actually talking about cities,” said IOM DG Amy Pope,The Call to Local Action means we have the seeds in place. Its success is tied to achieving the SDGs. Unless we are partnering with the local level, we won’t achieve the SDGs.”
  • The GFMD Mayors Mechanism, together with the governments of Azerbaijan and Kenya, also hosted a Thematic Roundtable on Multi-level Governance, an interactive dialogue with representatives from the City of Barranquilla, Morocco, Germany, and the World Bank. This session highlighted the leading role of cities in fostering inclusion and addressing climate change, and discussed the benefits of improved national-to-local coordination.
  • At the Summit, Colombia announced to take on the next GFMD Chairmanship for 2024-2025. The GFMD Mayors Mechanism welcomed Colombia and hopes to see a continued focus on regular pathways and on the renewal of the global financial architecture for development.
Local Governments and Mayors at the GFMD
  • At the GFMD opening, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement in Boston, Monique Tú Nguyen said: “In our city, we don’t see migrants as people in need, but people we need.”
  • Mayor Moussa Fadera of Djinany, Senegal & Alejandro Dávalos, Viceminister of Human Mobility, Ecuador discussed the need for enhanced multi-level cooperation between the whole government, agreeing on Local Governments’ crucial role in fostering effective migration governance.

  • Throughout their engagement, local government representatives brought forward several recommendations, including:
  • Tackle the climate crisis by funding solutions at the local level: The climate crisis will significantly impact migration across the globe. And these journeys will be to, from, and through cities. Local governments are already dealing with the realities of climate change and migration on a daily basis, while facing a huge gap in localization of resources. Just 3-5% of adaptation finance reaches local administrations 9 and just 1.2% of humanitarian funding reaches local actors. Local governments call on national governments to invest in local solutions, so we can prepare and adapt for an inclusive and green path forward.
  • Support cities to provide access to services for all, including for those in an irregular situation or without documentation: Providing access to services is part and parcel of what it means to manage a city. In practice however, cities need an enabling national legal and policy environment, resources, and localised data to make equal access to services a lived reality. Local governments called on national governments to address these needs, for example through expanding pathways and regularisation programmes and to recognise such programs as smart policy tools to ensure everyone’s health and safety.
  • Balance narratives on migration to build inclusive communities: Tackling discrimination, and creating stronger, balanced, and more resilient narratives on migration is part of the mandate of local leaders to ensure everyone can feel welcome. By involving migrants and refugees in local initiatives, including by granting them access to jobs, services and culture, they build trust among communities. We call on national governments and others to join such efforts, through multi-level and multi-actor partnerships for effective inclusion.
  • Strengthen local-national policy coordination mechanisms to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda: The 2023 HLPF and SDG Summit showed the world is lagging to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but also that localising the agenda by partnering with local governments can be a crucial accelerator for implementation. The upcoming Summit of the Future provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring about a more networked, efficient and inclusive multilateral system and the Call to Local Action for Migrants and Refugees provides a repository of city action ready to be scaled and supported. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we call on national governments for increased, better and sustained local-national coordination and communication structures.
  • Increase municipal access to international funding: As local governments are asked to do more with less, there is a need for increased local government access to international funding. We call on the international community to increase municipal access to international funding, building onto existing innovative funding schemes, such as the MMC-led Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees. The important precedent of the UN Migration Multi Partner Trust Fund, which includes city-led organisations as part of its Steering Committee, is another key example to be replicated and scaled.


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