Nairobi, 13 August 2020 - A recent survey among local authorities reveals that cross-sectoral thinking and multi-level governance solutions are needed for migrants’ inclusion but are often difficult to implement. It is against this background that UN-Habitat and partners are soon launching a multisectoral guide to support local authorities on migrants’ inclusion at local level.

The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) were adopted in December 2018 by most of the UN Member States. Both global frameworks acknowledged the importance of local authorities for implementing and achieving the set objectives. Cities have long played a central role for accommodating and including migrants and are now playing an active role on migration topics in cooperation with national governments, the international community and in partnership with civil society and private sector actors. However, while some local authorities are successfully developing and implementing innovative strategies, others struggle and are in need of guidance, resources and capacity to advance with challenges regarding service provision and inclusion of migrants, refugees, returnees and displaced persons into their urban societies.

In 2019, UN-Habitat joined forces with the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) to collectively support local authorities in reaching the goals and objectives set out in the two Global Compacts, with a special focus on migrants’ inclusion through local actions and multi-sectorial approaches. The aim of the cooperation is to provide cross-sectoral recommendations emphasizing cities’ growing importance for sustainable migrant inclusion and harnessing the positive impact of migrants’ social and economic inclusion in cities.

Before the official launch of the report titled “Local Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees - A gateway to existing ideas, resources and capacities for cities across the world”, the multi-partner group reached out to selected local authorities for feedback on the recommendations and practicability. The survey was conducted in four languages (English, French, Spanish and Arabic) and was shared with local authorities in different regions and cities, including capitals, but also small and intermediate cities. Local authorities were asked to rate the relevance and implementability of each recommendation and provide comments. Recommendations covered topics such as governance, urban and territorial planning, local economic development and entrepreneurship, human rights, protection of children and provision of health services).

In addition to the rating, local authorities were also asked to name further areas of support needed to implement the recommendations (e.g. technical advisory services, training and capacity building among others). One final question covered local actions and assumptions on the impact of COVID-19 on the migrant community and other vulnerable groups and the ability of local authorities for further actions. Additional survey results can be found here.

The survey results underlined the need for policy coherence, multi-level and multi-sectoral coordination for a reactive, multidimensional, sustainable and effective response to migration related topics in urban settings. Based on consultations with local authorities as main audience for the guide and the survey results, the report will now be finalized, offering concrete examples and strategies for local actions and effective, transformative change at the local level and officially launched in the fourth quarter of 2020.