Emerging Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme to Address Migration and Cities

The emerging JWP aims to inspire new global thinking on how cities can manage opportunities arising from migration and the impact on urban programming over the long term.

From 17–18 October, the Cities Alliance team travelled to Bern, Switzerland to participate in two days of discussion hosted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).  The first day focused on promoting the role of cities in the 2030 Agenda, providing a platform for participants to share experience, learn from strategic approaches and expand their network of relevant partners.

The second day was devoted to planning for the proposed  Joint Work Programme (JWP) on Migration and Cities. In addition to the many members in attendance, the Cities Alliance jointly with SDC gathered a range of experts from organisations including the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

The discussion was lively and rich, and by the end of the day, three possible focus areas for the JWP had crystallised: Integration and social cohesion, the potential role of secondary cities in migration, and how to better link places of origin and destination.  

The overwhelming consensus was that a JWP devoted to better understanding the nature and impact of migration on cities is much needed. Urbanisation and migration are major, and connected, demographic phenomena shaping our world today. There are currently approximately one billion people on the move around the world, and cities – as centres of economic, social and political transformation – are the destination of choice for most of them.

At the same time, the connection between urbanisation and migration presents development challenges and opportunities that are not fully understood, analysed or addressed. The emerging JWP will bring members and partners together to inspire new global thinking on how cities can manage opportunities arising from migration and the impact on urban programming over the long term.

As the issue of migration has become increasingly urgent around the world, it has become an priority for Cities Alliance. Migration is one of four thematic focus areas for our 2018-21 Strategic Plan along with gender, economic growth and resilience. Migration and cities was also the theme of our 2015 Catalytic Fund Call for Proposals.

This experience, and that of our members and partners, will inform the new JWP as it evolves. Over the next few months the programme and its activities will be fleshed out, with a possible launch in early 2018.

Cities Alliance JWPs are multi-year activities that provide a platform for member coordination, engagement, and information sharing. They help support diagnostics, evidence-based policy recommendations, and a way to collectively advocate shared messages on a global scale.