Around 60 cities join the 2020 Regional Consultations of the Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD)

Around 60 cities join the 2020 Regional Consultations of the Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD)

In preparation for the GFMD Summit in 2021, UCLG regional sections actively participated across the six regional consultations on protection, labour migration and skills, held between May and July by the UAE Chairmanship of the GFMD. For the first time, the GFMD integrates a regional perspective into the proceedings, in line with the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) process. The multi-stakeholder nature of this state-led discussion on migration has been reinforced with the launching of the Working Groups on COVID-19 and on Migration Narratives, the latter co-chaired by the Mayors' Mechanism and Canada

Cities from all over the world, gathered around the Mayors Mechanism (steered by UCLG, IOM and MMC), claimed their space in global migration governance and advocated for strengthening multi-level and multi-stakeholder dialogue at the GFMD 2020 Regional Consultations. Throughout 31 online sessions with Member States, civil society, the private sector and international organizations, local governments emphasized inclusion as a vector of development and the need for cities not to be left alone on the front lines. More than 800 participants joined the discussions about the thematic priorities of the UAE Chairmanship this year, ‘labour migration’ and ‘protection gaps’ were among the most attended sessions.

In the current context of the pandemic, many local representatives stressed not only the importance of economic inclusion of the most vulnerable groups, but also the need to protect and guarantee the rights of migrant workers who have been left without income or have had to return to their countries of origin due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Through the different sessions, mayors and representatives of UCLG claimed the relevance of the UCLG Decalogue for COVID-19 aftermath as an essential tool to promote reconstruction in an inclusive, sustainable and equitable way.

The regional consultations on the African continent, co-hosted by the African Union, included interventions by Thembilise Nkadimeng, President of Salga and Co-President of UCLG, and Armand Beouindé, Mayor of Ouagadougou, representing the Mayors' Mechanism. In addition, the cities of the MC2CM project played an important role in the thematic discussions. UCLG Co-President stressed the fact that “Although national institutional frameworks, policy priorities, and incentives are important in both shaping conflicts and preventing them, the majority of tensions manifest themselves locally and may need to be addressed within specific local contexts”. On another note, Mayor Beouindé affirmed that “local governments are committed to the humanitarian imperatives of welcoming newcomers to our communities, as well as the need to foster migration policies that support economic growth and human development”.

In the Americas, Fabiana Goyeneche, vice-mayor of Montevideo, opened the consultations noting that "never before had dialogue been so relevant across levels of government and with stakeholders. Never before had a whole of society and whole of government been so necessary." In these discussions, Mercociudades, FLACMA and CONGOPE played an important role in mobilizing cities throughout the continent. In addition, the first meeting of the Working Group on Narratives took place in this framework, under the leadership of the Mayors' Mechanism l together with Canada.

The Bali and Abu Dhabi processes, which convened members of the UCLG Middle East and West Asia (MEWA) and Bali, were opened by Mohamed Saadieh, President of the Union of Dannieh Municipalities and President of UCLG MEWA, and Madeleine Alfelor, Mayor of Iriga and Treasurer of UCLG. Both noted the importance of strengthening the coordination between different levels of government and with other actors for adequate, safe and sustainable migration governance.

The European consultation, co-hosted by OECD, was inagurated by Carola Gunnarsson, Mayor of Sala and Vice-President of UCLG for Europe. In regards to bottom-up approaches, Mayor Gunnarsson highlighted that "global solutions require global frameworks that consider us partners and not simply implementers of measures bestowed upon us by national or supranational entities. Migration governance needs to build on the local sphere and consider our experiences and knowledge".

The regional thematic discussions were guided by six experts from different international organizations and will serve to shape the background papers for the GFMD summit discussions in January. During the consultations, a relevant space was devoted to partnerships. A significant number of existing partnerships and ideas for new ones came to light during the Closing Plenaries, which will be further elaborated in coming months in preparation for the Migration Lab sessions.

The work of the GFMD, together with UCLG's advocacy and technical support work at the UNMN, will be key to mainstream the local perspective into the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration. The first regional review fora on the implementation of this global framework will start in October, coinciding with the preparatory meetings for the GFMD summit, in which UCLG and its sections will ensure that local voices are properly represented.

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