Economic Inclusion In The News

What we can learn from mayors about refugee inclusion

Mayor of Koboko Sanya Wilson
Mayor of Koboko Sanya Wilson speaking at the event: ‘Solidarity in Cities: Learning from Mayors on Refugee Inclusion in Urban Areas’.

© UNHCR/Jose Cendon

This blog post first appeared on the UNHCR website. MMC engages in content partnerships with several organizations, and cross-posting does not indicate an endorsement or agreement.

“Cities are dealers of hope!” said Sanya Wilson, Mayor of the northern Ugandan town of Koboko, at a session today where mayors from cities around the world shared their experiences of welcoming and supporting refugees and of how they have gained support by partnering with national authorities, UN agencies and the private sector.  

“Koboko’s ability to receive direct funding from the EU was transformational and allowed my city to accomplish in two years what otherwise would have taken 40 … It is really all about inclusiveness. It is very simple and can be replicated anywhere,” said Wilson. 

Most refugees end up in cities rather than camps, meaning that mayors and local authorities have a critical role to play in refugee responses, and in achieving the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees. From providing emergency housing to connecting refugees to jobs, many cities have risen to the challenge but need more support to cope with the pressures created by a sudden influx of people. 

“San Antonio, like every city at this event, is doing a lot, but we cannot do it alone,” said Ron Nirenberg Mayor of San Antonio in the United States. To the global group of countries, foundations, and business leaders listening here – join us, support us, and invest in us. When refugee inclusion works in cities, refugee inclusion works nationally.” 


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