Mayors Migration Council
As the name suggests, the Mayors Migration Council consists of a group of mayors from different corners of the world focused on the global response to migration. The goal of this council is to “empower and enable cities with access, capacity, knowledge, and connections to engage in migration diplomacy and policymaking at the international, regional and national level.” This collaborative effort includes mayors from Zurich, Milan, Montreal, Freetown and Los Angeles and multiple others.

Mayors Migration Council

Recently, the Mayors Migration Council launched a $1 million initiative focused on assisting with needs for internally displaced people (IDPs). This initiative comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide support for migrant and refugee populations worldwide. It has focused efforts on Barranquilla, Colombia; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Beirut, Lebanon; Mexico City, Mexico and Lima, Peru. These cities with high populations of at-risk migrant peoples are provided direct financial support focused on urban areas. In these urban areas, the World Bank projects that communities may lose 15%-25% of total government revenues through 2021.

As government budgets undergo decimation as a result of the pandemic, this program provides support on projects “related to public health, employment, livelihoods, and social protection to mitigate the health crisis and its socio-economic impacts.” These focus areas are a direct illustration of the goal of this council. They hope to provide access to COVID-19 services as well as work with migrants to have a positive impact on the pandemic situation through direct work opportunities.

UN-Habitat

Through a partnership with UN-Habitat, the Mayors Migration Council has been able to implement groundwork programs that directly affect the lives of these migrant populations. An organization with prior experience with improving urban communities, the UN-Habitat organization takes funds from the Mayors Migration Council and provides direct guidance for these funds. This includes allocating funds to local governments and providing governmental and technological support. In Beirut, UN-Habitat partnered with Mayor Jamal Itani to develop a mobile health clinic to provide free COVID-19. The clinic is available to migrants and refugees as well as the rest of the population.

Cities Working Together for Migrants and Refugees

This new initiative includes commitments from the 2018 Marrakech Mayors Declaration. This declaration established the Cities Working Together for Migrants and Refugees programs. It focuses on the role of the mayors involved and how they can directly impact migration-related issues. Cities Working Together for Migrants and Refugees further supports the mission of the Global Compact for Migration, a U.N. agreement “on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.” This important initiative provides mayors in cities across the world a framework on how to handle migration as it happens, a vital framework before COVID-19 but especially amplified throughout the pandemic.

Proven Importance

With a multitude of different nations faced with political corruptness, violence, overall unrest, natural disasters and now the COVID-19 pandemic, large migrations of people will continue to occur. For the majority of nations, the current protocols for handling migration have plenty of room for improvement. These concerns are why a collaborative organization like the Mayors Migration Council is so important. It continues to provide adequate support and opportunities for all persons regardless of migration status. An organization comprised of mayors provides those with the political status to initiate change. Additionally, it offers a platform for meaningful discussion and collaboration between all corners of the world. This most recent million-dollar program further allows for increased national capabilities to handle these migration situations.

Jackson Thennis
Photo: Flickr