Pandemic Response Statement

Inclusive Pandemic Response: In times of crisis, it’s up to mayors to ensure no one is left behind


Joint Statement
Inclusive COVID-19 Response & Recovery

Migrants and refugees around the world have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis risking their lives as essential workers — caring for the sick, farming and processing our food, running transportation services, and so much more. But despite these contributions, many continue to be excluded from the assistance and relief they need. Some lack access to public services and financial aid because of their immigration status. Others live in overcrowded households and informal settlements without water or sanitation. Many have limited information accessible in their language. And on top of this, misinformation is fueling fear and discrimination.

In our cities, we know that the only way to recover and build back stronger from this crisis is to ensure that no one is left behind, and we are championing policies to make sure that language barriers, migration status, or where someone lives does not prevent their ability to access key services and get the support they need during recovery.

This inclusive approach is not new for us. As Leadership Board members of the Mayors Migration Council, we committed to global goals to protect the rights and well being of migrants and refugees long before COVID-19 hit. Together with 150 city leaders from around the world, we committed to implement the Global Compact on Refugees and Global Compact for Migration in unison by signing the 2018 Marrakech Mayors Declaration, which calls for equal, non-discriminatory access to health and other services in our cities regardless of migration or legal status. We have, and will, continue to promote local policies that accelerate these global commitments.

But while we can implement a COVID-19 response that addresses the needs of all of our residents, we cannot take on this task alone. Public health and the recovery of the global economy require States and multilateral bodies to follow suit and create the conditions for us to do our job better, faster, and at scale. We ask that decision makers at the national and international level join us and take the following actions:

  • Ensure safe, equitable access to services regardless of migration status, including healthcare and economic relief.
  • Empower migrants and refugees to be part of the solution to COVID-19, including through the regularization of immigrant essential workers.
  • Combat misinformation, racism, and xenophobia to strengthen community solidarity in all COVID-19 response and recovery efforts

Let’s set a new global standard so that we can ensure our cities, nations, and international community come back from this crisis more resilient, equitable, and sustainable than before, and for the years to come.

The Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees

Our inaugural chapter of the Global Cities Fund directly supports cities’ responses to the unmet needs of migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people during the pandemic.


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