According to the International Organization for Migration, migration can be defined as the movement of a person or group of people, either crossing an international border or within a state. There is now agreement not only on the importance of better exploiting the economic, social and cultural benefits of international migration, but also the downsides of this phenomenon that could be better handled.
Migration, integration, inclusion and the protection of migrants’ rights have hitherto been largely regulated and debated at state level, with states developing policies tailored to their countries’ needs as a whole. Thus, the central role of states as main actors in migration management and dialogue somewhat neglects a very basic fact of international migration - in reality, migratory flows, whether rural-to-urban or urban-to-urban, link cities across and between regions. Migration is a challenge that needs short and long term solutions and a review of policies must take the current role of cities into account.
[Watch the video of UN Secretary General António Guterres addressing the refugee crisis at at General Debate, 72nd session]
UCLG has recently agreed a partnership with the ICMPD and UN Habitat to shape the agenda and inform on the role of cities in migration policies around the Mediterranean.
The “Mediterranean City-to-City Migration Profiles and Dialogue” (C2C project) aims to improve the inclusion and integration of migrants at city level in the Southern Mediterranean region, including through access to human rights. The C2C project was launched in February 2015 and will run for three years. It is led by ICMPD (the International Centre for Migration Policy Development) with UCLG and UN-Habitat acting as project partners. UNHCR is also associated with the project.
The Mediterranean region is facing an unprecedented flow of migration and refugees. Furthermore, some countries are evolving from transit countries to become host countries. Such transformation creates new concerns for these countries and for the local governments in cities of the southern Mediterranean. In this context, it is necessary to adapt local policies, train municipal officials and coordinate with civil society organizations to meet the new challenge: making migration an asset for local development.
As migratory flows link cities across and between regions, and migratory processes often involve cities all along migration routes, the new city-to-city initiative will create a network of 10 cities (five in Europe and five in the southern Mediterranean) and assist them in addressing their priorities for migration planning through a spirit of decentralized cooperation and solidarity.
Read the full project outline here.
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