Cities worldwide pledge to support refugees and bring communities together

Switzerland. Muslim chaplaincy for asylum seekers

Sara (not her real name), who is pregnant and came from Iraq, in the neighbourhood of the Swiss federal reception centre for asylum seekers in Zurich.  © UNHCR/Mark Henley

This week 36 cities worldwide pledged their support for refugees and migrants through a  Call to Local Action to implement the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact on Migration (GCM).  

The Call to Local Action provides an official track for cities to pledge to both the GCR and GCM. While service delivery differs across cities, depending on access to resources, such as staffing and housing, cities around the world are at the forefront of decision making impacting refugees and internally displaced people. The 36 new pledges to the GCR and 70 actions outlined in the Report on Local Action for Migrants and Refugees released this week, include nutrition centres for Venezuelan children in Bogotá, improved access to banking and other services for refugees in Montréal, inclusive access to health care in Beiruit,  and new livelihood opportunities for refugees, migrants and internally displaced people in Nairobi. 

The Call to Local Action is led by the Global Forum on Migration and Development Mayors Mechanism, co-steered by United Cities and Local Governments, the Mayors Migration Council and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and implemented in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The Report on Local Action for Migrants and Refugees outlines the full list of pledges and actions announced today in New York.

These new commitments highlight the increasingly important role cities are taking in receiving and including refugees in their communities. Most forcibly displaced populations move to towns and cities for safety, economic opportunity and the promise of self-reliance. 

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, praised the commitment of cities and local authorities, which are on the frontlines of the response to refugee and other forced displacement crises: “From implementing local housing projects to sheltering those displaced and ensuring their access to schools and other critical social services, cities are at the helm in creating open, inclusive, and supportive environments for refugees and IDPs (internally displaced people). The Call to Local Action builds on this momentum, and we hope more cities will join this movement as we prepare for the 2023 Global Refugee Forum,” he said.

UNHCR continues to invite cities to pledge to implement the GCR and is committed to highlighting the critical role cities play through its Cities #WithRefugees Campaign, Good Practices & Innovative Approaches Digital Platform and providing technical support through the recent launch of a toolkit on Effective Inclusion of Refugees.