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Migration and the New Urban Agenda
Quito, 2 November 2016 – UN-Habitat organised an event on migration at Habitat III together with the International Organization For Migration (IOM), the Joint Migration And Development Initiative (JMDI), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and United Nations Institute For Training and Research (UNITAR).
While migration is a global phenomenon, with one in seven people in the world being an internal or international migrant, the effects of migration are most felt at the local level. The reasons are twofold: first, migration is a key driver of cities’ growth. In many parts of the world, migration is driving much of the increase in urbanization, making cities much more diverse places in which to live. Second, migrants are individuals with specific needs during times of crises, but who can also become agents of development when the right policies are put in place.
The event, ‘Managing Migration Well: For More Inclusive and Resilient Cities’, addressed how to mainstream and implement sustainable migration policy and management measures at local and national level. “The New Urban Agenda is an opportunity for everyone, including migrants, and this agenda can create an enabling environment for migrants to integrate and prosper” according to Dr. Aisa Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat.”
She stressed the importance of following a Human Rights Based Approach in order to leave no-one behind. “In times of conflict, we need to engage with local authorities, not just national level, when working to support and deal with the crisis.” Ms. Jill Helke, Director International Cooperation and Partnerships in the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), stated “You can’t think of migrants without thinking about cities and you can’t think of cities without thinking of migrants.”
She further emphasised the recognition in the New Urban Agenda of the large movements of people in the world today. Mr Nikhil Seth, Executive Director UNITAR promised to “form stronger partnership and fight exclusion in New Urban Agenda” as migrants are sometimes forgotten or hidden. The side event highlighted the importance of addressing national and international migration to cities in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.