Integrating Migrants in Cities: challenges and opportunities
Organized in the context of the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum, this event brings together various stakeholders to emphasize the importance of a holistic, intersectoral, and collaborative approach to integrating migrants in cities. It could not come at a more critical moment. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), an estimated 65.3 million people are now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee, and every minute 24 people are displaced from their home.
The event has four foci:
1. Migrants’ challenges in urban centers. UNESCO will present data from recent research, such as migrant surveys and policy briefs, on migration in Southeast Asia, India, and Southern Africa.
2. Highlighting interlinkages between migration and intangible cultural heritage (ICH) – migration’s impact on ICH, and ICH’s role in building resilient migrant communities.
3. Highlighting the potential of migration to spur sustainable economic growth.
4. The sharing of case studies of successful responses to migration, such as cities’ implementation of migrant-inclusive policies.
Learning to live together sustainably in cities is one of the most important challenges of our time. Cities can provide opportunities unavailable elsewhere, but can also be harsh and unforgiving environments where the sustainability of lifestyles, production, employment and civil peace can be stretched to the limit. As places where individuals, families, and communities exist within multiple and shifting relationships of interdependence, cities are a testing ground of our capacity to live together.
Migration’s role in this context is fundamental: in its internal and international guises, it is radically transforming cities worldwide. A major driver of urbanization, migration creates potential for vast economic growth and is a key tool of sustainable development, yet governments face problems tackling rising inequality, ensuring migrants’ access to basic services, and protecting them from discrimination, exploitation and abuse. Failure to grapple with these challenges means that the developmental potential of migration remains unrealized.