Pandemic Response Press Release

It Takes A Community To Build Back Better, More Inclusive Cities

This International Migrants Day, the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) participated in the launch of the “It Takes A Community” global campaign of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)’s  Ad Hoc Working Group on Public Narratives. Spearheaded by the Governments of Canada and Ecuador along with the GFMD Mayors Mechanism, the campaign is an international effort to balance narratives on migration by sharing stories about the positive impact that migrants have in communities across the globe. You can view all the content by searching for the hashtag #ItTakesACommunity. 

Covid-19 has reminded us that each and every one of our neighbors play an essential role in a thriving and resilient community. The mayors we work with know that we must work hand-in-hand to protect and support migrants, refugees and the internally displaced if we want to endure this crisis and build back better. 

To participate in the campaign and acknowledge the momentous efforts of city leaders around the world, the MMC elevated the work of our Leadership Board mayors who show that #ItTakesACommunity to create more inclusive & sustainable cities:

  • Mayor Yousef Shawarbeh ensured that Amman’s Covid-19 response includes all, from sanitizing neighborhoods across the city to working with the International Rescue Committee and other partners to provide emergency humanitarian aid. 
  • The Athens Coordination Centre for Migrants & Refugees hub, launched by former mayor Giorgos Kaminis, developed a mapping tool of services available to Athens’ most vulnerable populations during the pandemic, streamlining services across organizations.  
  • Led by Mayor Marvin Rees, Bristol housed more than 300 homeless people, including migrants who did not have access to national support, and created Bristol One City with representatives from local governments and civil society to keep Bristol a fair, healthy and sustainable city for all.
  • Supported by the European Union, Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr launched “EU Stands with Sierra Leone” to support 350,000 migrants and other citizens living in informal settlements by installing rainwater harvesting systems, handwashing stations and care centers, 
  • During COVID-19, Mayor Erias Lukwago personally distributed food to vulnerable migrant and refugee populations in Kampala, which has close to 80,000 refugees and street children. The city is also surveying residents to provide more adequate services, food supplies and economic relief throughout the pandemic.
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city of Los Angeles conducted widespread, multi-language outreach around the  2020 Census to ensure that everyone in LA is counted, including immigrants, in an effort to secure adequate federal resources and  support for the city.
  • Mayor Giuseppe Sala chaired C40 Cities Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, acknowledging the role of migrants in Milan as essential to a recovery plan that improves public health, reduces inequality and addresses the climate crisis. 
  • The Mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante, created a city-wide recovery plan focused on solidarity and inclusion that will lead to increased anti-discrimination, anti-racism, and welcoming efforts in the city. 
  • In São Paulo, Mayor Bruno Covas launched the “Connect the Dots” program to bridge rural farmers with refugee and migrant kitchen workers, and then redistribute meals to families in need across the city. 
  • Led by Mayor Corina Mauch, the city of Zurich created a centralized, multilingual and accessible COVID-19 platform, organized hotlines, WhatsApp channels and flyers so immigrant and refugee communities had access to information.

The MMC recognizes that #ItTakesACommunity to catalyze bolder, smarter global action on migration. Today, we also take the opportunity to celebrate our first year as a standalone organization, and the milestones we achieved in partnership with allies across the globe including: 

  • The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres elevated in the UN policy brief on city responses to COVID-19, recognizing the need to support migrants and refugees regardless of status. 
  • As Selection Committee member of the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund, the MMC helped secure UN funding for city-level projects in Mexico and Chile to implement the Global Compact for Migration.
  • MMC Leadership Board mayors took charge in response to national COVID-19 relief plans that excluded many migrants and refugees and proposed locally-led, inclusive solutions. Read this OpEd by Mayor Bruno Covas, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer for the World Economic Forum to learn more. 
  • Recognizing that cities are on the frontlines of responding to climate migration, the MMC formed a partnership with C40 to support and elevate city leadership on this critical topic and joined the Disaster Displacement Advisory Committee to ensure city voices inform global policy. 
  • The MMC partnered with UNHCR to bring mayors to the first Global Refugee Forum and  facilitate the first consultation between the UNHCR Country Offices and cities on COVID-19 response.
  • Together with the International Organization for Migration and the United Cities and Local Governments, the MMC brought over 80 city officials and mayors to the State-led Global Forum on Migration and Development process to participate for the first time as formal stakeholders in policy consultations 
  • In partnership with the Overseas Development Institute, the Open Society Foundations and Robert Bosch Stiftung, the MMC supported the launch of the Mayors Dialogue to innovate human mobility policy solutions between European and African cities, led by Mayor Giuseppe Sala of Milan and Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown. 

Together with our partners at the Open Society Foundations, Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the MMC has supported cities in welcoming and uplifting our neighbors. We’ll continue to work alongside communities, international partners and city leaders to ensure no one is left behind.

The MMC and our partners will continue to participate in the #ItTakesACommunity campaign in 2021 and look forward to uplifting and celebrating positive narratives throughout the year!


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