The Global Task Force on Migration gathered online on February 3, 2021. The second meeting of the Task Force was titled ‘The Importance of Multi-level Governance to Ensure Effective Local Responses to Migrations and Displacement.’
Co-managed by United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (UMT), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality and World Academy for Local Government and Democracy (WALD), the Task Force was established after the signing of ‘the Gaziantep Declaration 2019’ at the ‘International Forum on Local Solutions to Migration and Displacement.’ In the webinar, the role of local and regional governments in multi-level governance, data sharing, and increasing the effectiveness of the steps and measures taken to address migration-related issues was emphasized, and it was aimed to evaluate the past practices, reapplying those practices with improvements and proposing new approaches with the active participation of both local governments and non-governmental organizations. To achieve this, the plan put forward was to identify the reality on the ground, to exchange ideas, and to set short-term as well as long-term objectives. In this way, local governments are offered the opportunity to explore new ways of protecting immigrants and integrating them into society.
The webinar was opened by Yasmin Alhayek, the Coordinator of Relations with International Organizations at UCLG-MEWA and member of the Task Force secretariat, and the key note speech was delivered by a representative of the Human Settlements Department from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The participants discussed the importance of local governments taking an active role in relations with the migrant populations, especially in urban areas, at national and sub-national levels, and noted that this became even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the first step to be taken should be effective data sharing.
The first session was moderated by the Union of Municipalities of Turkey and included interventions of Resource Development and International Relations Officer from Sultanbeyli Municipality, Department of Social Services and Commissioner for Integration from Osnabrück Municipality of Germany, and Irbid Municipality of Jordan, showcasing examples of effective data sharing and multi-level governance practices from municipalities. The SUKOM application developed and used by Sultanbeyli Municipality and the migrant data tracking application of Osnabrück Municipality were two interesting examples presented during the meeting. Some examples from these applications were shared with the participants, keeping the information registered in the system confidential.
The second session ‘The role of small and intermediary cities as catalysts for stability,’ moderated by the Emergency Coordinator from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), continued with the presentations of the UCLG General Secretariat, UCLG Africa Section, Sombor Municipality from Serbia, and Campillos Municipality from Spain. The practices implemented by these municipalities to ensure and promote the integration of immigrants were among the highlights of the meeting.