Municipal Finance Press Release

Global Mayors Unite to Deliver Critical Momentum at UN Migration Conference

Global Mayors Unite to Deliver Critical Momentum at UN Migration Conference

From Milan to Kampala to Montreal, world mayors meet in New York City to discuss progress towards the UN Global Compact for Migration at first-ever International Migration Review Forum.

Mayors launch Call to Local Action for Migrants and Refugees with 70 city-led solutions that accelerate the global migration agenda. 

New York City, May 16, 2022 — Today, 12 mayors from all over the world are meeting in New York City to participate in the 2022 United Nations International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the first-ever global review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), to turn the migration agreement adopted by national governments in 2018 from aspiration into action.   

More and more migrants and displaced people look to cities for opportunity and safety — with 70 percent of the world’s displaced people seeking refuge in urban areas and one in five international migrants moving to just 20 cities. Cities are also where today’s most pressing global challenges play out, from Covid-19 to climate migration to the Ukraine refugee crisis.

Earlier in 2022, the UN Secretary General released a report that recognized the instrumental role that local governments play in the delivery of the GCM’s 23 objectives and called on national governments to see cities as allies. Today, mayors are following through on their promise and are in New York City to deliver to the President of the UN General Assembly 70 local actions that make a tangible difference in the lives of migrants, while keeping the world on track to meet global commitments.  

These actions are the result of a Call to Local Action for Migrants and Refugees organized by the Mayors Mechanism — a partnership between the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Mayors Migration Council (MMC), and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) — in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 

The measures championed by mayors are featured in a flagship report that will be issued annually. Examples of measures championed by mayors include:

  • Nutrition centers for Venezuelan children and their caretakers in Bogotá, Colombia.
  • Direct financial assistance to migrants impacted by Covid-19 in Kampala, Uganda.
  • Green and equitable job creation programs for migrants in Milan, Italy.
  • Municipal IDs to access Covid-19 vaccines and banking services in Montréal, Canada.
  • Welcome centers for Ukrainian refugees in Zurich, Switzerland.

Over the course of the week, mayors will participate in official IMRF sessions to share their policy expertise and on-the-ground experience with national governments as they negotiate an official UN resolution to be adopted at the end of the conference. Mayors will also have a private meeting with the President of the General Assembly and a briefing with the UN press corps.  

“I could not be prouder of what mayors have accomplished over the past four years,” said Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal and Founding Leadership Board Member of the MMC. “We went from being an outsider to having a seat at the table at global migration negotiations as the world is realizing that local solutions are national successes.”

However, city leadership far exceeds available resources. As shown in Municipal Finance for Migrants and Refugees: the State of Play, cities face an urban finance gap that limits their ability to deliver at scale. This is why mayors are coming to the UN to call on the international community to immediately create or invest in financing mechanisms that city governments can directly access, such as the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees.

“While national governments deal with borders and visa regimes, it is at the city-level that the most important needs of migrants and refugees are met, from housing to healthcare to employment,” said Erias Lukwago, Lord Mayor of Kampala and Founding Leadership Board Member of the MMC. “With our leadership and commitment, comes our clarion call to the international community: consult cities, partner with cities and invest in cities.”

Visit and follow #Migration2022 on social media for more information. For general background and inquiries, visit   

For press inquiries, contact Jake Adler, Head of Communications at the Mayors Migration Council, at or +1 (718) 702-4868. 

About the Mayors Migration Council

The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) is a mayor-led advisory and advocacy organization that aims to accelerate ambitious global action on migration and displacement through city diplomacy and practice, creating the conditions for urban migrants, displaced people, and receiving communities to thrive.

To fulfill our vision, we support mayors to i) access and influence State-led diplomatic processes most relevant to migration and displacement; ii) secure financial and technical resources to implement global migration and displacement goals locally, including through the Global Cities Fund; iii) elevate mayoral leadership on the international stage through global communications; iv) generate and disseminate knowledge grounded in local experiences; and v) 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, Los Angeles, Milan, Montevideo, Montreal, 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 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 or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Mayoral Delegation to the IMRF

Biographies can be provided upon request. 

Accra, Ghana

  • Elizabeth Naa Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey, Mayor of Accra; Chief Executive, Accra Metropolitan Assembly

Braga, Portugal

  • Ricardo Rio, Mayor, City of Braga 

Dhaka North, Bangladesh

  • Md. Atiqul Islam, Mayor, Dhaka North City Corporation

Entebbe, Uganda

  • Fabrice Brad Rulinda,  Mayor, Entebbe Municipality

Freetown, Sierra Leone

  • Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor, Freetown City Council

Gringny, France

  • Philippe Rio, Mayor, City of Gringny

Kampala, Uganda

  • Erias Lukwago, Lord Mayor, Kampala Capital City Authority

Kanifing, The Gambia

  • Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Lord Mayor, Kanifing Municipal Council

Kitchner, Canada

  • Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor, City of Kitchener

Mechelen, Belgium

  • Alexander Vandersmissen, Mayor, City of Mechelen 

Milan, Italy

  • Giuseppe Sala, Mayor, City of Milan

Montréal, Canada

  • Valérie Plante, Mayor, City of Montréal

The 2022 inaugural report on Localizing the Global Compacts brings forward: 

  • 70 local actions that make a tangible difference in the lives of migrants and refugees, while keeping the world on track to meet commitments set out in the GCM and GCR.
  • Commitments from 47 LRGs and their associations, representing 33 countries.
  • 40 local actions that expand access to services to migrants and refugees.
  • 19 local actions that serve migrant and refugee children and youth.
  • 29 local actions that expand employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for migrants and refugees.
  • 16 local actions that address the impact of the climate crisis on migration and displacement.
  • 24 local actions that offer humanitarian or financial assistance to migrants and refugees in times of crisis.
  • 37 local actions that improve city governance, accountability, and responsiveness to migrant and refugee communities.


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