6 November 2017
WEF Report: Well-managed Urban Migration Will Help Achieve SDG 11
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
story highlights

A report from the World Economic Forum titled, ‘Migration and Its Impact on Cities,' addresses how cities can better address migration-related challenges in the future, and provides a framework to achieve long-term migrant integration.

The report includes 22 case studies from some of the most affected cities in each region of the world.

25 October 2017: A report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) indicates that, based on data for 2015 and 2013, the number of internal migrants is three times as high as the number of international migrants globally, although internal migrants receive less attention in political debate and planning processes. The WEF report outlines ways for cities to better meet the needs of migrants and achieve long-term migrant integration.The report titled, ‘Migration and Its Impact on Cities,’ aims to inform the forthcoming negotiations on a UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. It examines: types and causes of migration; how cities can be better prepared for migration; and how they can meet the needs of migrants, particularly in the delivery of urban infrastructure and services (housing, education, health, employment, integration and social cohesion, and safety and security). It also provides a framework for long-term migrant integration. The framework addresses the “perception problem” surrounding migrants, and discusses community engagement, policy reforms, inclusive urban planning mechanisms for migrants’ long-term needs, and the importance of “responsive, outward-looking and action-oriented” city leadership. The report also seeks to help city leaders identify solutions to address the challenges posed by migration.

The cities surveyed identified housing, health, education and employment as specific challenges in dealing with a migrant influx.

The report includes 22 case studies from some of the most affected cities in each region of the world, namely: Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, New York and Boston in North America; São Paulo and Medellín in South America; Dubai, Amman and Ramallah in the Middle East and North Africa; Cape Town and Dakar in Sub-saharan Africa; Pune, Surat, Guangzhou and Davao City in Asia; Berlin, Athens, Paris, Amsterdam and Rotterdam in Europe; and Auckland in Oceania. The cities identified housing, health, education and employment as specific challenges in dealing with a migrant influx.

WEF reports that, in 2015, over a billion people migrated, 244 million went abroad and 763 million moved within their home country, and migrants contributed over US$6.4 trillion, or 9.4%, to global GDP. While most migrants settle in cities, statistics are limited, particularly in developing economies where such information could help improve urban planning and preparedness of cities.

The report recognizes that well-managed migration will play an integral role in sustainable development and achieving the SDGs, in particular SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities). It emphasizes collaboration and partnerships among cities, replication of best practices, and incentivizing private sector engagement. The report suggests fostering migrant entrepreneurship and capitalizing on migrants’ skills, in order help the local economy, and calls for cities to provide training and mentoring support.

Speaking about the report, Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration, said cities must identify the legal and administrative priorities required to enable the integration and adequate protection of migrants, particularly for those who lack the same legal entitlements as refugees. [Migration and its Impact on Cities Landing Page] [Migration and its Impact on Cities] [Report Highlights] [WEF Press Release] [WEF Blog Post on Integrating Migrants into Cities] [Blog Post with Charts on how Migration is Changing Cities]

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