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Cities for Migration: local governments commit to defend rights universality in migration governance

Migration plays a central role in the evolution of the world’s urban population. It transforms cities into living spaces characterized by diversity and human mobility. Accordingly, the role of local authorities has become more important than ever in order to ensure social cohesion and access to fundamental rights for all. With a view to provide a space where to exchange points of view in this regard, our Committee brings together local authorities committed to guarantee rights universality and local social cohesion. United, Cities for Migration are resolved to play a role in international debates on global migration governance by defending shared messages.

[ Articulating the voice of local authorities on migration and intercultural dialogue ]

Our Committee organizes meetings aimed at reflecting on the points of view of members in regards to migration and diversity. We also take part in meetings of partner networks to provide inputs on the basis of the practices of members. The topics discussed in this regard relate to the notions of human rights, intercultural dialogue and social inclusion.

Why migration?

Despite its transnational nature, international migration flows have its most direct impact at the local and territorial level. Migration and diversity pose new challenges in regards to guaranteeing social cohesion, equality and opportunities for all: for some, the city might be seen as a place to thrive – a framework of opportunities where to access to a dignified life and the urban services that come with the right to the city. However, too many still face discrimination, xenophobia or struggling economic conditions, being only able to settle down in the socio-spatial frontiers of the city.

It is because municipalities are the closest level of government to the needs and aspirations of people, that they can make a difference in enhancing migrants social inclusion and access to human rights. As a matter of fact, local governments across the world already play a key role in regards to reinforcing the social inclusion of migrants. They are providers of basic social services, access to education, cultural facilities or urban land and housing. In perspective, these are fundamental human rights – basic conditions for an adequate standard of living.

Local governments are also in the capacity to counter racism and xenophobia. They are instrumental to make local opportunities accessible for all, and to reinforce the idea that diversity is an enriching factor for local life. As our century will see the highest rates of world urbanization propelled by international migration flows, stakeholders behind global migration governance will have to recognize and support local action in this regard. They will equally have to clear space for expressing their needs and sharing their experience in the definition of national and international strategies.