As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, the scope of its implications for migration and development is equally gaining attention. The Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD), as the only international and state-led, multi-actor forum that has been discussing migration and development for more than a decade, seeks to bolster new solutions to shared challenges brought by COVID-19. To do so, a series of multi-actor webinars has been put in place, looking to connect COVID-19 discussions to the regional consultations and GFMD Summit.
As part of the Mayors Mechanism, UCLG is working to facilitate the participation of local governments in such deliberations. These webinars will aim to reflect on challenges that migrants face; to take stock of responses and to identify joint action to mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19 on migration and development. The webinars are open to all interested, and will be multi-stakeholder with interaction between national governments, civil society, local authorities and the private sector.
The first webinar took place on Tuesday 28th April. In this meeting, Imen Ouardani, Deputy-Mayor of Sousse, Tunisia and member of the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration (MC2CM) project, spoke on behalf of the Mayors Mechanism and highlighted the role of multi-level dialogue, coordination with civil society and robust data to guarantee that public services reach all inhabitants, particularly the most vulnerable, regardless of their legal status. "In the town hall of Sousse we know that the world won't be the same afterwards. Our vision has not changed, but our goals and priorities for the next three years are different.”, Deputy Mayor Ouardani said.
Pietro Mona, Ambassador for development, forced displacement and migration at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), noted that "cities have shown that for them all citizens are neighbours regardless of their origin. This should inspire us to frame inclusive responses to COVID-19".
The next session will take place on Thursday 30th April 2020 at 15:00 UTC (17:00 CEST) (English / Spanish interpretation), with the participation of Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, New York City.
After these two sessions, the GFMD will start a process of Regional Consultations, which will inform the topics to be tackled during the GFMD Summit foreseen next January. These consultations will take place via teleconference between May and July 2020, allowing for the participation of local governments and other stakeholders.
Established in December 2018, the GFMD Mayors Mechanism (MM), co-steered by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is designed to bring the expertise, priorities and concerns of local and regional authorities into the thematic agenda, deliberations and outcomes of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). The MM hereby aims to maximize opportunities for local authorities to interact and partner with the different constituencies of the GFMD.
- The recording of the first webinar is available here.