Barcelona, 20 June (EFE) .- The participants of the first Mayoral Forum on Migration, Mobility and Development held today in Barcelona have agreed that the Forum should demonstrate continuity and is to be held next year in the city of Quito (Ecuador).
The meeting brought together Mayors and other municipal authorities from 20 cities around the world, as well as representatives of international organizations.
This first Forum also approved the 'Barcelona Declaration', a document that defends the important role of local governments in international migration policies, as key actors in the integration processes of the immigrant population.
The text of the Agreement, signed by representatives from around twenty cities and international bodies who gathered today in Barcelona, recalls the importance of local authorities in the integration of migration flows and calls for the importance of their role to be recognized.
The document recalls that "faced with the challenges of the governance of migration, mobility and development, cities are in charge of achieving integration processes and ensuring social cohesion."
"These processes begin in the neighbourhood, district and city, in public spaces, in schools, in workplaces", the document continues.
The text of the declaration also emphasizes that it is cities that "fight against segregation and inequality and often have to cope on their own with multiple challenges of coexistence, housing, irregularities and security, among others."
It notes that, nevertheless, "the bodies responsible for the management of migration flows tend to make decisions without considering their impact on the local level. This may result, sometimes, in decisions that generate exclusion and segregation at the local level, and in local leaders finding difficulties in exercising their responsibility."
For this reason, the Barcelona Declaration urges national and international authorities to demand a "voice and role" for cities in deciding on immigration policies, and "a more realistic approach to legislation, in order to minimize the generation of exclusion and of persons who are in an irregular situation"
The participants also demand strong action against discrimination and the increase in xenophobic and racist discourse found in some parts of the world, and called for funding for local policies of integration and to accommodate diversity.
The Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development was organized by the City Council of Barcelona, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migrations, the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), the World Bank, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the European Commission.
It also received support from the following organizations and institutions: United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the European Union Committee of the Regions, the Council of Europe, the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), Metropolis, The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP), and the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM)