The challenge

Migration stands as a prominent feature of the 21st century, with over 258 million individuals residing outside their countries of origin. Projections suggest a substantial rise in the global urban population, expected to surge from 3.5 billion presently to 6.2 billion by 2050, predominantly in Africa and Asia. This urbanization wave includes a significant portion of displaced persons, with more than half of the world's internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, (totalling approximately 65.3 million), settling in towns and cities. Root causes of migration span conflict, environmental degradation, climate change, poverty, and spatial inequalities, driving individuals towards urban areas where safety, shelter, basic services, and livelihood prospects appear more promising.However, this influx poses considerable challenges to host communities and local governments, exacerbating existing institutional and financial strains, leading to service deficiencies, health risks, safety concerns, and environmental degradation. 

The trend of urban displacement is poised to escalate, amplifying urbanization rates, particularly in certain regions, fuelled by a doubling of IDP numbers in the past decade, and anticipated further increases due to climate change. Therefore, it is imperative that local governments and other key stakeholders are effectively supported in order to utilise built capacities for bettered management of urbanisation . This is crucial as properly planned and managed settlements can not only provide services, shelter and safety for all inhabitants but also harness the myriad of opportunities resulting from migration.


In the Kalobeyei settlement in Northern Kenya, UN-Habitat contributes to the spatial planning component of the settlement for
refugees in collaboration with Turkana County Government and UNHCR, to promote for greater self-reliance, reducing conflicts and increasing resilience
In Sinjar (Iraq),
vulnerable individuals now have increased land tenure security and improved access to housing and basic services.
UN-HABITAT has supported improving Living conditions for
individuals from the most vulnerable host communities and IDP households including women, children, elderly, and disabled persons in Maqbanah district in Yemen through the rehabilitation of water supply, sanitation systems, and improvement of basic hygiene practices.

News and Stories

Featured Stories & Videos

Featured Stories & Videos

Highlighted Publications

Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
Integrating migration into urban development interventions
Technical Report
Local Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees - A Gateway to existing ideas, resources and capacities for cities across the world
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
Guidance for Responding to Displacement in Urban Areas
Technical Report
UN-Habitat Compendium: Migration Related Projects
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
Migration and Inclusive Cities: A Guide for Arab City Leaders
Urban Profile
Urban Profiling in Humanitarian and Development Contexts: A Guide for Turkish Municipalities Impacted by Migration and the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Donors and partners

UN-Habitat cooperates with different UN agencies (including IOM, UNHCR, UNDP and UNICEF, among others), international organizations and development partners such as OECD, ICMPD or CMI on migration and displacement related initiatives in support of national and local government authorities in better managing integration of migrants, refugees and IDPs in urban areas and human settlements across the humanitarian-development nexus.

This work includes policy development, legislation and governance, urban planning and finance as well as concrete implementation of projects for localizing the New Urban Agenda and achieving the urban targets of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 11.

UN-Habitat cooperates with agencies like as well as the UN Regional Commissions on urban solutions, that benefit both, migrant and host communities.

Acknowledging the crucial role of local authorities, civil society and private sector for integration and inclusiveness in cities, UN-Habitat promotes and applies whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.

Our Experts

Filiep Decorte
Chief (oic) Programme Development Branch; Interim Emergency Director
Rina Ito
Associate Programme Management Officer