Mayors Migration Council meeting showcases mayoral leadership on issues of migration, inclusivity and climate

By Laetitia Pettinotti, Inclusive Climate Action Diplomacy and City Engagement Manager

The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) held its first-ever Leadership Board Meeting in New York in July 2019, at the margins of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals. At the meeting, mayors reaffirmed their commitment to improving international migration governance, especially as climate is projected to further increase migration flows in the future.

The MMC is a new initiative that helps cities have their voices and interests reflected in international deliberations and policies concerning refugees and migrants. It is guided by the strategic vision of a Leadership Board of Mayors from around the globe, including the mayors of Amman, Bristol, São Paulo, Freetown, Kampala, Los Angeles, Milan, Montréal, Zürich and, as a special envoy for climate change, the former Mayor of Athens, Georgios Kaminis. The MMC is supported by the Open Society Foundations and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and its work is implemented in partnership with C40. 

Mayors Migration Council Press conference at the United Nations on the 15th of July, 2019 © Gregory Maniatis (@gmaniatis).

Cities play a central role in locally delivering global commitments linked to migration, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. The MMC is a platform to support cities engaging with migration diplomacy at home and internationally, and to help mayors translate international migration and refugee frameworks into tangible public policies in their cities. The Council will facilitate collaboration and solution-sharing at the city level to develop responses to the pressing issue of migration in cities.

C40 is leading on the issue of climate change and is a key advisor on city diplomacy in general. Climate change and migration are linked, and interact in complex ways that vary depending on geographic and socioeconomic contexts. But one certainty is that migration due to climate-induced impacts, such as gradual shift in temperatures or seasonal rainfall for example, is set to increase in the coming decades. Given this reality, C40 is supporting the MMC to understand the full extent of how climate change will influence migration and explore how responding to migration and refugee issues can be articulated as part of inclusive city climate action strategies. For example, how can cities address the vulnerability and exposure of migrant groups to extreme weather events or improve their access to low-emission and public transport systems.

At the meeting in New York, the Leadership Board mayors discussed the need for increased recognition of their leadership on migration issues and for support to deliver their commitments, particularly providing access to basic services and economic opportunities for all residents in their cities. In the words of Giuseppe Sala, mayor of Milan, cities’ message on migration is one of “growth and solidarity” in order to deliver welcoming and inclusive societies.

Visit the official website for more information on the Mayors Migration Council, or contact the MMC directly if you are a senior city staff interested in the initiative. We also invite you to consult the media coverage of the Mayors Migration Council meeting during the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals: