The Belgian government and the city of Mechelen will host a “Global Conference on Cities and Migrants” on the 16th and 17th of November 2017, together with IOM, UN Habitat and UCLG as institutional partners.
The Belgian Development Cooperation, one of the Conference’s co-sponsors, puts great emphasis on the importance of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation (Belgium) says: “This conference comes at a time when there is an all-time high of more than 250 million migrants worldwide. This number of migrants is expected to continue to grow. If we want this evolution to contribute to human development, we need coherent and inclusive approaches.”
Bart Somers, mayor of Mechelen, is enthusiastic about hosting this conference: “Migration is often a story of urban challenges but also urban opportunities. I feel it’s important the voices of mayors become a part of the UN Global Compact on Migration.”
In October 2016, UN Member States adopted the New Urban Agenda (NUA), at the Habitat III Conference, establishing that migration is one of the key governance areas that requires policy coherence and coordination mechanisms at central, local and regional levels, in order to ensure the proper management of diversity necessary for social cohesion and indispensable for sustainable urban development.
In 2018, UN member states will gather at a conference to endorse the first Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The GCM is intended to present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility and set out a range of actionable commitments, means of implementation and a framework for follow-up and review among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions.
This is an opportunity for states to commit to a unifying framework on all aspects of international migration, integrating humanitarian and development work, and based on human rights. Local authorities can make important contributions towards the preparation of this agreement, particularly through innovative and more effective approaches to urban governance that accounts for greater diversity, including migration policies for inclusive growth.
The Conference will aim to facilitate key decision makers’ views on actionable recommendations on cooperation for migration governance and local and national levels in follow-up to Habitat III and as input to the stocktaking meeting for the GCM, hosted by the Government of Mexico (December 2017).