On 19 of September 2016, the Heads of States and Governments and High representatives adopted the political “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migration” which calls for states to consider committing to a unifying framework on all aspects of international migration, integrating humanitarian and development work, and based on human rights.

A month after the New York Declaration, UN Member States adopted the New Urban Agenda (NUA), at the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador. For the first time, a UN commitment fully integrates migration in the strategic planning and management of cities and urban systems while affirming the human rights of all inhabitants, regardless of a migrant’s reasons for moving, length of stay or legal status. The organizers anticipate that the efforts of local governments in this regard will contribute upwards to the national implementation of the NUA.

The Global Conference on Cities and Migration aims to combine current thinking around international migration and sustainable urban development in order to contribute to the implementation of the urban dimensions for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including, but not limited to, Sustainable Development Goal 11, which has been designed to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

To realise this goal, it is imperative to provide migrants with access to basic services, guarantee their rights and promote and facilitate their inclusion and participation to the social, political and economic local fabric in order to contribute to the achievement of this specific goal.

Hosted by the City of Mechelen and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Belgian Federal Government, and coordinated by IOM, UCLG and UN-Habitat, the Global Conference on Cities and Migration will be a preparatory event for energizing both local governments’ contribution to developing a Global Compact on Migration and reviewing the status of the implementation of the recent migration-related commitments of the international community.

Expected outcomes to be articulated in the Conference Outcome Document

Actionable contributions on cooperation for migration governance and local and national levels as input to the stocktaking meeting for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (“Global Compact”), hosted by the Government of Mexico (December 2017); Inputs to the follow-up and implementation of the New Urban Agenda to be presented at the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (February 2018), using the Migration Governance Framework and its urban version and the local Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) guidelines, launched in Quito (17 Oct 2016) and Quezon (29 Sept 2016) respectively, as a basis;

Institutional partners

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is a UN related agency and the leading inter-governmental organization on migration. It has an important role to service the full preparatory process leading to the 2018 conference, providing technical and policy expertise, as recognized in paragraph 11 of the New York Declaration.

UN-Habitat is a key focal point, within the UN system, on sustainable urbanization and human settlements, including in the implementation, the follow-up to and review of the New Urban Agenda, in collaboration with other United Nations system entities with IOM as a focal point on migration.

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) is the world organization of local and regional governments and their associations and represents their interests and their voice on the world stage.


Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Postal Services of the Belgian Federal Government.

Bart Somers, Mayor of the City of Mechelen and was awarded the World Mayor Prize in 2016 for providing immigrants in his city with the facilities to contribute to the city’s society, economy and culture.