Mayors Migration Council meeting in New York shows mayoral leadership on issues of migration, inclusivity and climate

01 August 2019

On 13 – 15 July 2019, the Mayors Migration Council held its first Leadership Board Meeting in New York on the margins of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals. At the Leadership Board meeting mayors reaffirmed their commitment to improving international migration governance, especially as climate change impacts forcibly displace people and is projected to further increase migration flows in the future. The discussions revolved around the need for cities to respond to the migration and refugee challenges in an inclusive way, promote peace and strengthen democracy.

(News submitted by C40)


The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) initiative is led by the Open Society Foundation, implemented in partnership with C40 and steered by a group of select mayors from around the globe. The strategic Leadership Board currently gathers the mayors of Amman (Jordan), Bristol (UK),  São Paulo (Brazil), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Kampala (Uganda), Los Angeles (USA), Milan (Italy), Montréal (Canada), Zürich (Switzerland) and - as a special envoy for climate change - the former Mayor of Athens (Greece), Georgios Kaminis.

Cities have a central role in delivering locally on global commitments linked to migration, such as the the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. Given this recognition, the MMC is a platform for cities to engage on these issues. Over the course of the coming years, the Council aims at supporting cities and city networks to engage in migration diplomacy both at home and internationally. It will facilitate collaboration and solution sharing at city level to develop responses to the pressing issue of migration in cities.

The C40 city network is involved in the MMC as an implementing partner, given its long-standing experience and leadership on climate change and city diplomacy. Indeed, climate change and migration are linked and interact in complex dynamics that vary depending on geographic and socio-economic contexts. But one certainty is that migration due to extreme climate event, to gradual shift in temperatures, in seasonal rainfall and in other climate related push factors is set to increase in the next years and amplify in the coming decades. Given this reality, C40 is supporting the MMC to understand the full extent of how climate change will influence migration in the future and explore how responding to migration and refugee issues can be articulated as part of inclusive city climate action strategies. For example, how can cities address the vulnerability and exposure of migrant groups to extreme weather events or improve their access to low-emission and public transport systems.

In New York, the Leadership Board mayors discussed the need for increased recognition of their leadership on migration issues and for support to deliver their commitments, in particular providing access to basic services and economic opportunities for all. In the words of Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, cities’ message on migration is one of “growth and solidarity” in order to deliver welcoming and inclusive societies.  

Going forward, the MMC will explore how mayors can translate international migration and refugee frameworks into tangible public policies in their cities, with C40 supporting on the intersection with climate change.

For more information on the Mayors Migration Council, please visit the official webpage. Mayors or senior city staff interested in the initiative should correspond with [email protected] . We also invite you to consult the media coverage of the Mayors Migration Council meeting during the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals.


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