Municipal Forum 2019 Summary Report


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Municipal Forum 2019 Summary Report

January 8, 2020

In 2019 alone, 70 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced as a result of conflict or natural disasters. Large movements of migrants, refugees and internally displaced groups across the world and their hosting communities are faced with significant challenges to cope with and recover sustainably from the impact. At the same time, solutions may provide also opportunities to transform development processes and systems allowing for improved resilience moving forward. The role of municipalities in creating inclusive communities and fostering local development in response to large scale displacement has never been as important. Mayors, local authorities and their communities have long been at the forefront of responding to displacement and migration. Municipalities have led social and economic inclusion efforts, such as facilitating access to services for refugees and migrants and implementing expanded infrastructure and administrative systems to accommodate increased demand. In many cases they have provided access to employment and livelihoods opportunities, housing, health care, education, and skills and language training for newcomers and long-term residents alike. Mayors have played a central role in not only meeting immediate needs of newly arriving refugees and migrants, but also capitalizing on the opportunities that new residents bring in terms of longer term social and economic growth and building urban resilience. Local authorities are those closest to the people and confronted with challenges and opportunities on a daily basis. They are therefore in a unique position to transform local development and accelerate innovation by facilitating the inclusion of refugees and migrants. The Global Municipal Forum, which took place on 26-27 November 2019, brought together over 400 participants from all regions, including 60 high level speakers of which more than 35 mayors. The forum was co-organized by UNDP, UNHCR, IOM, the Metropolitan Municipality of Gaziantep, United Cities and Local Governments Middle Eastern and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA), the Union of Municipalities of Turkey and WALD. The Forum was hosted in Turkey, currently home to the largest number of refugees in the world. The forum took place in Gaziantep City, which hosts 500,000 Syrian under temporary protection.