Cities in Global Agendas and Migration & Cities

Dec 2017

Florence Lozet, Cities Alliance , Cesar Robles andClaudia Paixão, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in collaboration with Cities Alliance hosted two events on “Cities in Global Agendas” and “Migration and Cities”. Participants ranged from SDC staff, including SDC’s networks – Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network (DDLGN), Employment and Income Nework (e+i), Climate Change and Environment Network (CC&E), Migration Network; State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Swiss development organisations, Swiss academia, Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), local CSOs as well as international experts, in particular focusing on migration such as, 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).

In light of SDC’s recent membership of the Cities Alliance, the first day of the event focused on promoting the role of cities’ global agendas, providing a platform for participants to share experience, learn from strategic approaches and expand their network of relevant partners. With the urban share of the world’s population steadily increasing (predicted to rise to 66% by 2050), which is driven by a natural population growth and rural-urban migration, a transformation of social and economic fabric of entire nations, societies and economies is taking place. Urban areas may be engines of economic growth, cultural diversity and social innovation. However, growing urbanisation may also be accompanied by increase of poverty and inequalities as well as environmental challenges in urban contexts. Most of this urban growth will take place in Asia and Africa.

Participants had rich debates and gave inputs on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda focusing on the achievement of the targets and progress monitoring at the local/city level. Various stakeholders discussed the challenges and opportunities in supporting cities in translating global agendas into local actions. Linked with SDC’s “Learning Journey on Urban and Peri-Urban Development Dynamics”, which identifies potential avenues for SDC in the area of sustainable urban development and SDC’s thematic networks, intensive group discussions concentrated on three particular topics: Inclusive Governance, Equitable Growth, and Environmental Sustainability.

The second day was devoted to planning for the proposed Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme (JWP) on Migration and Cities. The discussions were lively and rich focusing on three possible key areas for the JWP: 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, because the development challenges and opportunities are not fully understood, analysed or addressed.  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. Urbanisation and migration are major, and connected, demographic phenomena shaping our world today.
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.

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