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Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development

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Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development

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Barcelona, Spain
19 Jun 2014 to 20 Jun 2014
Duration of event:
2 Days
Programme Area:
Local Development, Migration
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Local governments seek to foster novel solutions that respond to common challenges faced by cities worldwide with the two-fold purpose of simultaneously ensuring economic growth and enhancing coexistence and social cohesion. 

Participation and interaction of people from all around the world is a powerful instrument of creativity and transformation in the local arena. Throughout history, migration has shaped major metropolitan sites, new and old alike. Urbanization and cross-border migration are the major challenges of the future. It is estimated that, by 2050, 60-70% of the world's population will live in urban areas and the number of megacities will rise remarkably in developing countries.
Diversity is indeed a distinctive feature shared by the great cities around the world. It is also a challenge for cities. By identifying the most appropriate instruments, actions and policies tailored to each city’s circumstances, diversity can be a powerful force towards prosperity.
It is generally acknowledged that the contribution of migrants, either internal or international, has been a core element for growth and development of cities and states.  Increased international human mobility has also brought new challenges for local authorities. Cities are at the front-line of integrating newcomers, and they often do so without the support and resources needed. Cities have had to adapt their services to an increasingly plural and diverse citizenship. From schools to health care, from welcoming services to identification cards, to support for small business, local administration has experienced an impressive transformation in recent years.
These developments were discussed during the meeting in New York entitled “On Local Government: Taking the Migration and Development Agenda Forward," which was held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development last October. This was an initiative of the World Bank's Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Joint Migration and Development initiative (JMDI). There, the Mayor of Barcelona launched the initiative of the Mayoral Forum, aimed at bringing together local leaders worldwide to work on the challenges and opportunities that mobility and development mean at the local level, to share a vision for developing a local agenda on human mobility and development, and to channel and enhance the visibility of the role played by local authorities in the governance of migration.
At the conclusion of the Mayoral Forum, a statement will be issued – the Call of Barcelona – that will:
  • Emphasize equality of rights, duties and opportunities as core bases for a cohesive society;
  • Acknowledge the central role played by local governments on the issues of mobility, migration and development; and
  • Reassert the need for city leadership and related support by national and regional government and other actors.
The Call of Barcelona may lay the foundations to develop a future local agenda on mobility and development, an instrument to channel and enhance the visibility of the role played by local authorities in the field of migration governance.
The dual goals of the first Mayoral Forum are: first, to highlight the role of cities at the front-line of addressing migration; and second, to discuss the value of mobility for development in cities and around the world. These objectives embrace the shared conviction that migration is primarily a positive, urban phenomenon, and that cities are the main attraction pole (and driving force).
The Mayoral Forum will focus on two related themes:
  1. City Government: Its Leadership Role Within and Between Countries Regarding Global Migration and Mobility Governance;

  2. Fostering Economic Prosperity in City Centres and Peripheries: the “Virtuous Circle” of Migration and Development. 

The Mayoral Forum also aims at strengthening relations among local government counterparts from around the world, and between them and international institutions working in the field of migration. The City of Barcelona will support the process of building such a dialogue.
The Mayoral Forum aims to foster open dialogue among local leaders participating in the meeting. The idea is to provide a comfortable place to work following the Chatham House rules and allowing Mayors to share their experiences, challenges and concerns in addressing diversity in their cities.

Discussions will be guided by experts, who will act as rapporteurs and prepare the draft proposal of the Call of Barcelona, collecting recommendations and arguments from the various participants. 

The Mayoral Forum will assemble some 20 mayors from world cities and representatives from international organizations, including the World Bank, UNITAR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN-Habitat, and the European Commission.   

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