26-27 October 2015, Palais des Nations Geneva, Switzerland
Cities are attracting increasing numbers of people in search of a better life, more employment opportunities and better services, but also those fleeing conflict, natural disasters and environmental degradation. In 2014, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimated that more than half of the world’s population resided in urban areas and that the number of people living in cities would reach approximately 6.4 billion by 2050, constituting 66 per cent of the global population. Migrants play an important role in the global shift to cities and in driving cities’ development agendas. However, this role seems to be largely overlooked in the global debate on urbanization and development. While many cities and local governments are attuned to the realities and policy responses that include migrants – and take migrants’ voices into account when putting forward agendas at both the national and federal levels – others have ignored this in their development planning.
For this year, IOM decided to align the topic of its principal forum for policy dialogue, the International Dialogue on Migration (IDM), with the theme of its flagship publication, the World Migration Report. Accordingly, the 2015 IDM high-level conference will be dedicated to migrants and cities. The conference will be the second such high-level event – with the first being the Diaspora Ministerial Conference held in 2013 – and will bring together ministers, high-level government officials, mayors and other local authorities, the private sector and civil society organizations to discuss the complex dynamics of human mobility at city and local level and how risks can be managed and development opportunities maximized. The conference will also be the venue for the launch of the World Migration Report 2015 – Migrants and Cities: New Partnerships to Manage Urban Mobility.