Cities Alliance is proud to join the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) #WithRefugees coalition as part of our ongoing support for cities who seek to leverage migration for sustainable and inclusive development.
First launched in 2016, the coalition invites cities and local authorities around the world who are working to promote inclusion, support refugees and bring communities together to sign a statement of solidarity #WithRefugees. The idea is to show world leaders that concrete solutions must be found to the global refugee crisis.
Those who are interested, please consider signing the petition at www.unhcr.org/withrefugees/petition. It asks decision makers to:
Ensure every refugee child gets an education.
Ensure every refugee family has somewhere safe to live.
Ensure every refugee can work or learn new skills to support their families.
Cities Alliance’s support for the #WithRefugees campaign is within the framework of our Joint Work Programme (JWP) on Cities and Migration, which aims to enable partner cities to manage challenges and leverage opportunities arising from migration. Unlike migrants who move in search of opportunity, refugees move out of fear – a difference that must be acknowledged and addressed. The JWP will include outputs on refugees and seek to partner with cities and refugee-led organisations.
The campaign is due to run through the end of 2018, when the Global Compact on Refugees will be formally adopted and endorsed. The main objectives of this global compact are to reduce the pressure on the host countries, to assist host countries with the management of refugees, and to reinforce the rights of all the refugees who cannot go home. The Global Compact on Refugees will not replace the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951); it will fully include the convention’s principles and provide concrete measure of action for governance, mainly to encourage international cooperation.
In addition to the Global Compact on Refugees, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will be adopted in Marrakesh 10 – 11 December. It will be the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. The compact is a significant opportunity to improve governance on migration, to address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.
In the leadup to the Global Compacts, there are various events addressing migration. Africities, the premier event for local government in Africa organised by United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLGA) in November, committed an entire day of the summit to migration, with three learning sessions and workshops on managing migration at the city level. Both UCLGA and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) will play an important role as interlocutors for the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
The Cities Alliance has been actively involved in the migration week in Marrakesh. We were invited to participate in the 11th Global Forum on Migration and Development, which took place 5-7 December 2018. The Global Forum is an inter-governmental consultative process open to all States Members and Observers of the United Nations, a platform where governments can share their national, regional and global experiences in migration and development. It recognises the role of local governments for improved migration management in cities, and new mechanisms to include local authorities in future Forums will be discussed.
Another important event is the 5th Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development, which took place on 8 December 2018 in Marrakesh. Through our JWP on Cities and Migration assisted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Cities Alliance was an affiliated partner of this event, which gathered a hundred mayors and city executives from around the world. The forum recognises the vital role played by local and regional authorities in the protection and direct assistance of refugees, migrants and displaced persons.
Cities Alliance also sponsored the participation of the Mayors of Arua and Gulu, Uganda, at the Mayoral Forum. Both of these Ugandan secondary cities are coping with the everyday arrival of displaced persons from Uganda and abroad, and the Mayoral Forum gave the mayors a chance to share their experiences. One of the biggest challenges they face is a lack of financial resources, and in response Cities Alliance will release a policy brief entitled Migration Management in Secondary Cities in Developing Regions and the Need for Financing Mechanisms.