Climate Migration Press Release

The MMC Leadership Board Meets to Pledge Support for Afghan Refugees, Commit to Tackle Climate Migration, Accelerate Municipal Access to Finance, and Honor Late Mayor Bruno Covas

New York, NY – On Thursday, September 16, 2021, mayors from all around the world representing the Leadership Board of the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) met virtually to discuss and advance city-led responses to global migration and displacement.

Strategic priorities discussed during the meeting included the MMC’s diplomatic strategy on Afghanistan and broader global migration and refugee governance; the MMC’s positioning on municipal finance for migrant and refugee inclusion; the MMC’s leadership in the critical new policy spaces of  climate-related migration and inclusive responses to the climate crisis; and a tribute to the late Mayor Bruno Covas of São Paulo, a founding member of the MMC.

The timely conversation on migration and refugee governance came after the MMC issued an urgent statement calling on national governments to immediately open their doors to Afghan refugees and provide the resources needed to facilitate resettlement and protection. The letter continues to receive new mayoral signatures, with endorsements from 70+ mayors and leaders from 17 countries, as well as  city-led organizations representing over 240,000 cities from around the world. The MMC Leadership Board assessed the efficacy of its advocacy efforts in regard to the Afghanistan crisis and deliberated key avenues for continued diplomatic engagement on other topics, such as climate-related migration. In November 2021, the C40-MMC Global Mayors Task Force on Climate Migration will present an Action Agenda at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in dialogue with national and regional counterparts.

The Leadership Board also discussed the need to strengthen municipal access to finance for migrant and refugee inclusion. In January of this year, the MMC launched its own Global Cities Fund  in response to the unmet needs of cities as they support migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people during pressing global challenges – from pandemics to the climate crisis. To date, the MMC has received support from the Open Society Foundations and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to provide direct financial and technical support to nine cities and has a project pipeline of over 20 city government project proposals that are investment- and partnership-ready. The Leadership Board discussed the future of the Global Cities Fund and the opportunity to expand its focus to inclusive climate action, among other possible areas for exploration in the MMC’s municipal finance portfolio.

The mayors also honored the legacy of the late Bruno Covas, former mayor of São Paulo and a co-founder of the MMC, who passed away in May of 2021. The youngest elected mayor in  São Paulo’s history, Mayor Covas was a fearless champion of human rights and a leader who set a global standard of serving all city residents with dignity and respect regardless of where they come from or why. The Leadership Board shared memories and reflected on the legacy of their cherished colleague in a joint Tribute.

The MMC Leadership Board includes:

  • His Excellency Yousef Shawarbeh, Mayor, Greater Amman Municipality, Jordan
  • The Honorable Marvin Rees, Mayor, City of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor, City of Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • His Worship Erias Lukwago, Lord Mayor, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda
  • The Honorable Eric Garcetti, Mayor, City of Los Angeles, United States
  • The Honorable Giuseppe Sala, Mayor, City of Milan, Italy, 
  • Her Worship Valérie Plante, Mayor, City of Montréal, Canada
  • The Honorable Corine Mauch, Mayor, City of Zürich, Switzerland
  • The Honorable Georgios Kaminis, Special Envoy to the MMC and C40 Cities, former Mayor of Athens, Member of Parliament, Greece


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.

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.

For media enquiries, please contact Ivonne Rodriguez,  


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