MC2CM holds high-level conference in Beirut

04.2018 / Ana Feder, Mediterranean City-to-City Migration Project (MC2CM), ICMPD Malta

The Mediterranean City-to-City Migration Project (MC2CM) brings together experts and cities to contribute to improved migration governance at city level, including migrants' access to basic services and human rights.

The project is funded by the European Union through the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement negotiations and co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Implemented since 2015, the project is working with the cities of Amman, Beirut, Lisbon, Lyon, Madrid, Tangiers, Tunis, Turin and Vienna to increase the knowledge base on urban migration and nurture a peer-to-peer dialogue to support mutual learning on specific urban challenges such as social cohesion, intercultural dialogue, employment and provision of basic services for migrants, among others.

More specifically, the project focuses on:

  • Dialogue through seven Peer-to-Peer Meetings on specific themes related to challenges faced in each city;  
  • Knowledge through development of City Migration Profiles that set out data and information on the local migration context in partner cities as well as future priorities to address;
  • Action through transfer of migration governance and city planning strategies, establishment of city expert networks and development of pilot projects implemented in the participating Southern Mediterranean cities.

The Conference of the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration project (MC2CM) was held on 7-8 November under the auspices of Beirut Municipality. It was held at Beit Beirut Museum and Urban Cultural Centre in Beirut, Lebanon.

The conference convened over 100 participants representing city and national governments, international organisations, civil society as well as the European Union and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to present the findings and recommendations of the MC2CM project.

The event also launched a debate on the future of urban migration in the Mediterranean region, paving the way to the project's next phase.
Jamal Itani, Mayor of Beirut and host of the conference, highlighted the relevance of the urban dimension of the phenomenon of migration, highlighting the specific challenges Beirut faces and making a call to action to address these. The opening remarks from project partner representatives, ICMPD Director General Michael Spindelegger, UCLG Secretary General Josep Roig and UN Habitat Director of Programmes Division Raf Tuts, all highlighted the importance of a project such as MC2CM to shed light on the reality of the nexus between migration and urbanisation – a widely acknowledged reality with its own set of challenges. Head of Section of the EU Delegation in Lebanon, Jose Luis Vinuesa Santamaria emphasised the support of the EU in addressing these challenges and supporting the implementation of coordinated action and initiatives on the ground. Other high-level panelists included:

  • Mayor of Amman, Yousef Al Shawarbeh 
  • Deputy Mayor of Madrid, Mauricio Valiente 
  • Deputy Mayor of Tangier Naima Ibn Aboud 
  • Deputy Mayor of Tunis, Abderrazak Bouziri 
  • Member of Metropolitan City of Turin Council, Anna Merlin 
  • Ali Belhaj, Director General of the National Migration Observatory of Tunisia
  • Deputy Mayor of Rabat and Member of Parliament in Morocco, Souad Zaidi
  • Secretary General of Lisbon Municipality, Alberto Laplaine Guimaraës
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Simone Troller
  • President of Associazione Nationale Comuni Italiani (ANCI Piemonte), Alberto Avetta
  • President of Moroccan Mayors Association and Member of Parliament, Fouad El Omari
  • Member of Beirut Municipal Council, Khalil Choucair


The event also saw the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between ICMPD and UN-Habitat, two of the project's partner organisations. Both partners agreed on enhancing cooperation and consolidating their partnership with the aim of contributing to better migration, specifically at city, local, national and regional levels, as well as globally. In his address Michael Spindelegger, Director General of ICMPD, highlighted that:

"Cities are now seen as recognised stakeholders helping drive the global agenda for development and sustainable growth forward."

Panellists and participants discussed the MC2CM policy recommendations to be adopted by end of 2017, calling for more concrete and coordinated action and resources for cities and governments to effectively tackle migration opportunities. The conference also saw the launch of the City Migration Profiles Synthesis Report – a report that summarises the findings from the 9 City Migration Profiles produced in the framework of MC2CM.

For more information on the MC2CM project and to access the project outputs, please click here

The High Level Conference Report can be found here.