Nov 2020 - The third annual flagship report by the Mixed Migration Centre, the Mixed Migration Review 2020, focusing on mixed migration and cities, has been launched featuring a long interview with UN-Habitat’s Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif.
The subtitle of the report, available here, is “urban frontlines for displacement and mobility” highlighting the fact that most migrants as well as 60 per cent of refugees and 80 per cent of internally displaced people live in cities.
In the interview in the Mixed Migration Review the Executive Director stated that local authorities have a major role to play in creating an enabling environments for the social and economic inclusion of migrants and displaced people and fostering social cohesion. She underlined that there is a strong need to advance development approaches in urban migration and displacement contexts to avoid long-term increase of slums and that cross-sectoral coordination and area-based approaches to improve urban systems, that benefit both host/local and displaced communities are critical.
The Executive Director underlined that migrants and displaced people need to be seen as citizens and right-holders, in order to also enable and foster their positive impact to urban societies, referring to the fact, that many cities rely on migrants for increasing their labour force in critical sectors (including health, food, transport or production, among many others), but also adding to the social and cultural diversity in cities.
In her intervention, she also put a spotlight on the fact, that in many contexts, migrants and displaced people live in inadequate living conditions and in areas of cities that are underserviced or unplanned, and are facing risks due to unsecure rights of tenure, lack of access to water and sanitation, health and education services. She strongly advocated for supporting local government authorities to improve urban systems, so that interventions could lead to long-term, sustainable urban development, which would benefit migrant as well as local communities in vulnerable situations.
More information on UN-Habitat’s work on migration and displacement in urban areas can be found at https://unhabitat.org/programme/inclusive-cities-enhancing-the-positive-impacts-of-urban-migration.