UN-Habitat, Ford Foundation Report Highlights Potential of Migration in Arab Cities
UN Photo/Kibae Park/Sipa Press
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The guide describes the “tremendous potential of migration,” which can mutually benefit both host communities and migrants and drive sustainable urban development.

It explains how large-scale migration, both voluntary and forced, and rapid urbanization are intrinsically linked.

The report describes challenges related to competition between host and migrant communities over jobs, increased urban poverty rates, and strains on municipal budgets, and proposes ways to overcome these challenges.

14 March 2018: The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Ford Foundation have issued a report titled, ‘Migration and Inclusive Cities: A Guide for Arab City Leaders,’ which aims to stimulate innovative approaches to address opportunities and challenges posed by migration to Arab cities.

Part of the UN-Habitat City Leaders Guide series, the publication is intended as a guide for those working to create “just and inclusive cities,” where both migrants and host communities can thrive. It provides evidence-based tools to help Arab city leaders better understand the patterns and causes of migration impacting the region, and identify ways for migrants to contribute to urban development and engage with their host communities. The guide describes the “tremendous potential of migration,” which can benefit both host communities and migrants, and drive sustainable urban development. It discusses how including displaced people in host communities can transform cities into “melting pots,” which can act as “engines of productivity and sustainable service delivery.”

Arab cities host more than 38 million international migrants (including registered refugees), 45% of the world’s refugees, and approximately 16% of internally displaced persons.

The report explains how large-scale migration, both voluntary and forced, and rapid urbanization are intrinsically linked. It describes how migration, along with the increased demand for and pressure on affordable housing, adequate jobs, quality health care, education facilities, public transportation, natural resources, social protection and other basic infrastructure and services in cities, have increased the responsibilities of urban leaders and local authorities to include migrants in their cities and enhance accessibility of services and opportunities. As local authorities are the main actors in managing migration, cities with strong local administration and responsive urban policies can better accommodate for and benefit from migrants.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Arab cities host more than 38 million international migrants (including registered refugees), which amounts to 45% of the world’s refugees and approximately 16% of internally displaced persons. Around 24 million are from Arab countries alone. The report highlights the massive migratory inflows to Arab cities, and describes challenges related to, inter alia: competition between host and migrant communities over jobs; increased urban poverty rates; and strains on municipal budgets.

To overcome these challenges, the guide seeks to help: identify interventions that mitigate the negative impacts of migration and positively impact on the daily lives of urban residents; stimulate city-to-city learning and dialogue on reforms, resources, and support required to strengthen local actors; and identify entry points and actions for donor agencies and international organizations to support sustainable urban development responses.

Launched as an issue paper by the Working Group on International Migration in the Arab Region, co-chaired by IOM, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the League of Arab States (LAS), on the sidelines of the ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) in February 2018, the guide builds on existing frameworks that aim to develop sustainable urban governance systems, such as the New Urban Agenda (NUA), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the SDGs, particularly SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities). It also builds on the ‘Right to the City’ concept (or ‘Cities for All’), which promotes inclusivity and just, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements. [UN-Habitat News Story] [Publication: Migration and Inclusive Cities: A Guide for Arab City Leaders] [New Urban Agenda] [Global Compact on Migration]


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