June 2021 – UN-Habitat is supporting the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) in its recent launch of the call for cities to apply for funding from the Global Cities Fund for Inclusive Pandemic Response to provide COVID-19 related service provision to migrants, refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in urban areas.

As most migrants, refugees and IDPs move or live in urban areas, UN-Habitat is supporting the MMC in this initiative alongside the International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), facilitating outreach to applicant cities, advising on the application process, and ensuring the success of the Fund by providing technical advice and support to selected city grantees. Having five current grantees from last year’s call, the Global Cities Fund Project introduced a catalogue of 20 projects, the “Prospectus”, showcasing  another 20 city government project proposals lined up for funding. All projects focus on migrant and displaced communities and the Prospectus includes cities as diverse as Kampala, Ouagadougou, Mogadishu, Amman, Buenos Aires, and Jalalabad.

The Mayors Migration Council’s Global Cities Fund aims to respond to the unmet needs of cities supporting migrants, refugees IDPs as part of the cities’ COVID-19 response particularly in the light of shrinking local government budgets. It will provide the support to the cities to implement projects related to public health, employment, livelihoods, and social protection to mitigate the health crisis and its aftermaths and promote transformative changes including to reduce the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

UN-Habitat supports the Global City Funds initiative through its extensive experience on working with local authorities for creating inclusive, safe and sustainable urban areas and transferring funds to local authorities in different countries. UN-Habitat provides policy reviews, technical advisory services, capacity building activities and supporting monitoring processes.

The event included testimonials from Mayors of Beirut and Freetown whose cities are among the Fund’s inaugural grantees and the Mayor of Medellín, Colombia. Speakers highlighted the impacts of the investments made in the different locations, and how the experiences from the Global Cities Fund can set examples for direct funding to cities around the world. UN-Habitat currently supports the implementation of the project in Beirut, Lebanon, where Mayor Jamal Itani is pioneering city’s first Municipal Mobile Health Clinic offering non-discriminatory Covid-19 testing and vaccines to marginalized communities.

“UN-Habitat has a long tradition in empowering local governments in their role including in strengthening their capacity to generate local revenue and access and manage external funds. UN-Habitat has often transferred a portion of its funding directly to local governments to increase ownership of planned interventions,” said  Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. “ A boost in funding often enabled local authorities to advance innovative approaches to achieve social cohesion, which is critical to unlocking the positive contribution of migrants to their cities.”