Status message

We’re building a new UNITAR.org.

As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Facilitating Policy Dialogue

The Annual Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development 

The annual Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development (“Mayoral Forum”) is a City-led global initiative supported by UNITAR and its partners to gather city leaders from around the world to strategize and propose new and innovative approaches to urban governance in contexts of greater diversity. The Mayoral Forum’s starting point is the shared conviction that migration is a primarily positive, urban phenomenon, and that cities are the main attraction pole and driving force. 

The annual Mayoral Forum supplements existing policy fora namely the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), at the regional level (IOM, EuroCities, Metropolis and Cities of Migration), and supports the UN Secretary-General’s priority area of enhancing migration partnerships and cooperation in “making migration work.”

Institutional partners include the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

The First Mayoral Forum took place in the City of Barcelona on 19-20 June 2014 (read more)*. It culminated in the Call of Barcelona endorsed by the cities present that:

  • Emphasizes equality of rights, duties and opportunities as core bases for a cohesive society;
  • Acknowledges the central role played by local governments on the issues of mobility, migration and development; and
  • Reasserts the need for city leadership and related support by national and regional government and other actors. (read more: “Call of Barcelona”)

The Second Mayoral Forum took place on 12-13 November 2015 in Quito (for preparatory materials, read here)**. With its national tradition of inclusion enshrined in its Constitution, the City of Quito is emblematic of the age of migration: being a city of origin, destination, and transit of migrants.  What is more, on 17-20 October 2016, the City of Quito will host the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development that will span a number of subjects including those of urban social inclusion and equity.  Among the priority areas identified for the New Urban Agenda is that of urban migrants and refugees. (read more on UN HABITAT III)

The over-arching theme of the Quito Mayoral Forum was the role of local government in implementing the migration-related targets in the context of the new 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 

In addition to reducing the costs associated with migration, the new development agenda to take effect in 2016 includes commitments on the protection of migrant workers, reducing the costs of remitting, countering human trafficking, and promoting better migration governance. The role of city leadership in implementing such objectives will be pivotal including towards ensuring that cities are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. (read more on the SDGs, including SDG 11) 

To build on the momentum created by the new global development agenda and the role of decentralized levels of governments in implementing it, the Quito Mayoral Forum delivered a political road map entitled “Quito Local Agenda on Mobility and Development” for cities and regions after 2015 (that will supplement existing regional and international initiatives). (read more: agendaconcept note and summary and action items resulting from the meeting)

The Third Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development will take place in Quezon City Philippines on 29-30 September 2016.

*The first Barcelona Forum, co-implemented by the City of Barcelona and UNITAR, gathered a dozen mayors and their high-level representatives from the following cities: Barcelona, Athens, Lisbon, Paris, Quito, La Paz, Sincan, La Unión, Bilbao, Budapest, San Salvador, Cologne, Ankara, Seoul, Malaga and Milan.

Following the historic gathering at the United Nations General Assembly on 4 October 2013 (read more), the purpose of the Mayoral Forum was envisioned as: catalysing policy leaders in cities and regions around the key challenges and opportunities of mobility and development; shaping a vision for what is required to carry a “mobility and development” agenda forward for cities and regions; and channeling global visibility on the role played by sub-national government in this field.

It focused on two themes: city government and its leadership role within and between countries regarding global migration and mobility governance; and fostering economic prosperity in city centres and peripheries: the “Virtuous Circle” of Migration and Development. (read more: the background note and programme of the Forum)

**On 10 March 2015, in New York, a preparatory expert meeting entitled “Local Leadership on Mobility, Migration and Development” was organized with a view to confirming the orientations and objectives of the Second Mayoral Forum. The report of the meeting is available here.


Outcome Documents

First Mayoral Forum (19-20 June 2014, Barcelona) 

Second Mayoral Forum (12-13 November 2015, Quito) 

Policy Briefs

First Mayoral Forum (19-20 June 2014)

Second Mayoral Forum (12-13 November 2015)

Links and Press

Related Articles

Supporting City-to-City Exchange Towards Applied Innovation: The Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development by Dr. Colleen Thouez, published by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Migration and Development Network (April 2016). 

Working with Cities on Mobility, Diversity and Prosperity by Dr. Colleen Thouez, published in IOM's Migration Policy Practice (June 2014).

Cities and the Case for Migration by Dr. Khalid Koser, published by Cities of Migration (July 2014).