Integration of Migrants in Urban Areas – Implementing the Global Compacts in Cities and Communities

May 28, 2019
Stakeholders from around the world discuss the transformative power of sustainable urban development alongside the first session of the UN-Habitat Assembly.

A side event at the first session of the UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi brought together stakeholders from around the world to discuss the transformative power of sustainable urban development policies in the implementation of Global Compacts. The event, titled “Integration of Migrants in Urban Areas – Implementing the Global Compacts in Cities and Communities,” focused on the role of the local and regional authorities in implementing recently adopted global agreements, namely the New Urban Agenda and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Both the New Urban Agenda and Global Compact for Migration firmly recognise the development potential of migration and endeavour to further the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through their implementation. In addition, both global frameworks explicitly recognise the important role that local and regional authorities hold in achieving success. The side event in Nairobi echoed the importance of these linkages and focused on how sustainable urban development policies advance this work.

A panel of speakers with local, national, regional, and global perspectives lead discussion throughout the event. Panellists celebrated the whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach adopted by the GCM, noting that the inclusion of local and regional authorities in global frameworks marks a great step forward and promotes a new way of working that will be essential to the implementation of the Global Compacts. The importance of dialogue and cooperation between diverse stakeholders, with emphasis on local and regional authorities, was an underlying theme in the discussion. Participants cautioned that for proper implementation, local and regional authorities must be equipped with required resources and capacity.

The side event also provided opportunities for speakers to share best practices from their own experience. Several stakeholders articulated that including migrants – whether from land rights to gender issues – improved development outcomes at the local level. Jill Helke, IOM Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships, highlighted the pressing need for data to inform policy and programming, but warned that “data makes people numbers, and migrants need to be seen as people.” Helke stressed that local leadership, for example, mayors, play a vital role in championing this message. Helke also pointed to Local Migration Governance Indicators as a proven strategy to enhance dialogue between levels of government. The event concluded with shared commitments to shape efforts moving forward. Commitments include increased collaboration between levels of governance and enhanced partnerships with UN and other partners.

The side event was part of the first session of the UN-Habitat Assembly, running 27-31 May 2019 at the headquarters of UN-Habitat in Nairobi. The Assembly included the sub theme: “Accelerated implementation of the New Urban Agenda towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”. The side event was organised under Domain of Change 4 “Effective Urban Crisis Prevention and Response” of the UN Habitat Strategic Plan. However, the event referenced strong connections to other Domains of Change included in the Plan, as well as highlighted links to several Goals in the 2030 Agenda, underscoring the connection between the global frameworks and the integral role of local and regional authorities in achieving them.


Thematic area