Global Migration: Resilient Cities at the Forefront - Strategic actions to adapt and transform our cities in an age of migration
Mass migration has grown into one of the major urban challenges of the 21st century. As cities contend with the effects of climate change and aging infrastructure, they must also learn to adapt to waves of newcomers. Today, more than 60 million people have had to leave their homes because of conflict, in the largest wave of human displacement since World War II. Yet even this number is dwarfed by the world’s total population of international migrants, which peaked at 244 million in 2015. Regardless of their reasons for arrival, the overwhelming majority of migrants now remain in cities, and are helping shape their future.
Like other urban pressures, migration also presents a powerful opportunity for building resilience. In September of 2016, eight 100RC Member Cities, with a broad range of experience absorbing migrants, convened in Athens to collaborate on migration as a key component of urban planning. Chief Resilience Officers (CROs) from Athens, Thessaloniki, Amman, Paris, Montreal, Los Angeles, Ramallah, and Medellin shared what they have encountered, both successes and failures, and worked together to put forward practical solutions. The cities also had the additional expertise of partners such as the International Rescue Committee, MasterCard, Esri, the International Organization of Migration, Welcoming America, the Brookings Institution, Mercy Corps, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Against the backdrop of the refugee crisis, Exchange participants seized the opportunity to make migration central to the urban agenda. Athens’ experience poignantly illustrated the need to prioritize solutions that provide multiple benefits in both times of crisis and times of calm.
Global Migration: Resilient Cities at the Forefront reflects the Exchange’s cleareyed appraisal of the urban challenges of migration and the participants’ collective work to address and find opportunity in them. Organized into four visions, this document highlights best practices and pressing challenges, and concludes by emphasizing the need for cities to develop better local, national, and international partnerships to successfully integrate newcomers and build resilience that makes cities better for all residents.