The 'Barcelona Declaration' highlights the important role of local governments in international migration policies

Foro de Alcaldes sobre Movilidad, Migración y Desarrollo

The first Mayoral Forum on Migration, Mobility and Development, held in Barcelona on 19-20 June, agreed that migration is a rising phenomenon, in particular urban and cross-border migration. The meetings gave rise to 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.

City Councils and mayors are at the forefront when dealing with the complexity of the migration phenomenon; hence the first Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development became a rich space for exchanging views and experiences. It was also a space for reflection, within which to identify the main challenges to be addressed now and in the future, as well as a space to share knowledge, and to adopt and maximize common messages from the local level.

The meeting brought together mayors and other municipal authorities from 20 cities around the world, as well as representatives of international organizations, UCLG among them. UCLG stressed the important role of GLR in the development of inclusive social policies to integrate all communities living in the same urban area.UCLG has also indicated the work done either at the world secretariat level on this or at committee and working groups level such as the Committee on social inclusion, the Mediterranean Committee and the working group on migration and co-development.

Migration transforms cities and communities – those of origin as well as destination – and constitutes one of the main sources of economic and social development. Nevertheless, migration presents significant challenges for urban planning, the provision of services, the labour market    and social cohesion.

The clear message that this Forum conveyed was the need to persuade central Governments and international organizations that they must listen to what cities have to say. Cities must be included in decision-making processes. They are the engines of migration and the ones who manage a great deal of its impact; so they know the complexity of the situation better than anyone. In a multilevel governance situation, cities must take the lead on governing migration and mobility.

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