UCLG-MEWA attended the 2015 Global Forum on Migration and Development

“Cities are economic engines central to human development and shared prosperity. Cities are both humanitarian and development actors. Today’s world cannot be understood without looking at cities and today’s cities cannot be understood without looking at human mobility patterns. Therefore, putting cities at the centre of human mobility management is the key to our collective future prosperity.”, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as opening speech of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), highlighted the need to link migration and cities in the global agenda.

UCLG-MEWA took part to the 2015 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in Istanbul from 12th to 16th of October. UCLG-MEWA attended the GFMD Civil Society Days (12-14th October 2015), Common Space (on 14th of October, dialogue of civil society and government) and some sessions of the Government programme (14th-16th October 2015). The different GFMD programmes were complementing each other as a way to address the migration and development interconnections in practical and action-oriented ways and reflect the progressive acknowledgement of the limits of a strictly national approach to migration questions and implications at global level in an intergovernmental framework inclusive of civil society. Local authorities’ realities, implementation and action perspectives are also included throughout the GFMD. UCLG-MEWA representatives intervened during several sessions in order to highlight the role of local governments in managing migration and fostering migrants’ inclusion.

The side-event ‘’Exploring the Key Role of Local and Regional Authorities in Implementing the International Migration and Development Agenda’’ organized by the JMDI, UNITAR and Knomad gathered several actors (JMDI, UNDP, IOM, Swiss Development Cooperation, Devco) developing the local governments’ role in migration management and development-fostering programs. At the end of the panel, Mr. Adrien Licha, UCLG-MEWA Project Coordinator presented UCLG’s position on the specific role of local authorities in the inclusion of migrants and addressed the panel speakers in order to voice the need to increase international funds dedicated to local governments in the framework of the on-going humanitarian and migration crisis taking place in the MEWA region. He also pointed out the importance for international actors to cooperate with local governments in order not to disturb the local governance scheme of zones they settle in.

The GFMD event took place a few weeks after the new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by governments at the United Nations. How these goals will actually contribute to the well-being, empowerment and human rights of migrants, communities and societies, and how to ensure that they are implemented and monitored effectively was a major focus for this year’s GFMD Civil Society Days, as well as the Government program.

In line with 2015 Turkey’s Chairmanship, the Government Days were opened by H.E. Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Chair of the GFMD followed by the Prime Minister of Turkey, H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu who insisted on the symbol of hosting such a forum in Istanbul, from all time a city of internal and international migrations leading to the current melting pot of civilizations hosted by the metropolis. High level representative from United Nations and European Union took the floor to emphasize the positive link between migration and development as well as the global responsibility to manage the migration and refugees flux.

Reports and documents of the GFMD Government Days 2015 are available here, GFMD Civil Society Days 2015 are available here.

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