• Task Force includes Mayors of Barcelona, Bristol, Dakar, Dhaka North, Freetown, Houston, Lima, Los Angeles and Milan.

A new Global Mayors Task Force on Climate and Migration launched today to address the impact of the climate crisis on migration in cities.

The Task Force, a partnership between C40 Cities (C40) and the Mayors Migration Council (MMC), was inspired by C40’s Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. The C40-MMC Task Force will be co-led by the Mayor of Dhaka North, Mohammad Atiqul Islam, and the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.

Mayors deal with the realities of climate change and migration on a daily basis. This includes protecting residents from extreme heat, wildfires, flooding, or landslides, and welcoming people displaced by climate impacts domestically or internationally. Mayors are also setting the global agenda in promoting climate justice and leaving no one behind in the green transition. To date, their efforts have been delivered with limited resources and fragmented policy and financing regimes. 

The Task Force will drive forward an Action Agenda in partnership with migrant and refugee community leaders, business leaders, and experts to be presented at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in November 2021 in dialogue with national and regional counterparts. 

“The fight against climate change has no national borders, so we have to work together to lift up those who have been displaced by this crisis,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chair of C40 Cities and a Founding Member of the Mayors Migration Council. “Los Angeles is a city of belonging and people from around the world contribute to our economic strength and cultural richness. We’re proud to help lead the conversation around this defining issue in the face of a drastically warming climate.”

Earlier this month, the City of Los Angeles was invited by the Biden-Harris Administration to participate in a formal consultation on U.S. climate migration policy. The consultation follows a joint letter to President Biden from Mayor Garcetti and more than a dozen other American mayors that requested the President partner with cities to proactively plan for the impact of climate change on migration at home and abroad. 

Globally, it is estimated that up to a billion people could be driven from their homes for climate-related reasons within the next 30 years. According to the World Bank, 140 million people will move internally within their countries in just three regions alone—sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. 

“In Bangladesh, an estimated 2,000 people arrive in Dhaka daily, having migrated from other cities along a coastline that is increasingly affected by storms and rising sea levels. To manage this urban growth, we need better policy coordination across levels of governance and better access to international funding”, said Mohammad Atiqul Islam, Mayor of Dhaka North, C40 Vice Chair, and Co-lead of the C40-MMC Task Force.

“This Task Force will make concrete recommendations to national governments not only to release financing for local adaptation and mitigation, but also to expand our mandates so we can be more agile in our local responses”, added Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, C40 Vice Chair, MMC Leadership Board Founding Member, and Co-Lead of the C40-MMC Task Force. 

“The C40-MMC Task Force represents the pure DNA of our organizations: creating networks for cities to share their challenges, solutions, and progress, but also making their voices heard on the global stage and shaping global discussions”, said C40 Executive Director, Mark Watts

“Over the past several months, we’ve seen climate-related migration rising on the agenda of many national governments. There is a clear opportunity for cities to lead and set the agenda rather than reacting to what States put on the table at COP26 and other multilateral negotiations”, added the MMC Executive Director, Vittoria Zanuso. 

The Task Force, representing the geographic reach and diversity of C40 and the MMC, will convene at the mayoral and technical levels in the coming months to develop its Action Agenda. It will be supported by C40 and the MMC and informed by experts, practitioners, and the best available data. 

The members of the Global Mayors Task Force on Climate and Migration are: Mayor of Barcelona, Spain, Ada Colau; Mayor of Bristol, U.K., Marvin Rees; Mayor of Dakar, Senegal, Soham El Wardini; Mayor of Dhaka North, Bangladesh, Mohammad Atiqul Islam; Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr; Mayor of Houston, U.S., Sylvester Turner; Mayor of Lima, Peru, Jorge Muñoz Wells; Mayor of Los Angeles, U.S., Eric Garcetti; and Mayor of Milan, Italy, Giuseppe Sala.

C40-MMC Task Force member quotes

“Our cities are deeply committed to promoting inclusive climate action that takes into account the needs of vulnerable groups, including migrants. The C40-MMC Task Force will be an opportunity to call on national governments to join us in protecting the rights of those moving for climate-related reasons and fostering an inclusive green transition.” —Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona.

“As we build the C40-MMC Action Agenda and prepare for COP26, an important principle will be to include and amplify the voices of migrant and diaspora communities affected by climate; they are too often underrepresented despite having the most important experiences to share.” —Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and MMC Leadership Board Founding Member. 

“Of the climate finance that reaches Africa every year, very little is directed to cities, where climate change impacts are felt most acutely. I am proud to join the C40-MMC Task Force to advocate for better access to data and financing and to pave the way for other African cities preparing for and adapting to climate and migration.” — Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar.

“We need to secure national and local government investment to better adapt in place and reduce displacement. But we must also facilitate the dignified movement of those who live in risk-prone areas, preserving their assets, rights, and agency. Through the C40-MMC Task Force, we will share, scale, and replicate successful approaches in Houston and other contexts.” —Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston.

“While climate change is not always a direct cause of migration, newcomers are often more exposed to climate risks, including extreme heat in inadequate housing conditions or living in informal areas that are more prone to flooding and landslides. As we develop the C40-MMC Action Agenda, it will be paramount to ensure that we protect the most marginalized groups, including migrants, from climate risks.” — Jorge Muñoz Wells, Mayor of Lima.

“To promote a just transition to a greener and more inclusive economy, we need to acknowledge the intersection between climate change and migration, leveraging the power of city diplomacy to unlock resources, both for cities of origin, to avert displacement in the first place, and for cities of destination, to facilitate the inclusion of migrants in our local economy through green and just job creation.” — Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, C40 Vice Chair, and MMC Leadership Board Founding Member.

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