UN Migration Agency, UN Habitat Event to Recognize Contribution of Migrants to Cities

Dozens of Cambodians commute through the Thai border in Poipet. For many, they work daily in nearby border towns while others might venture further in to work for short to long term periods. Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Docenas de camboyanos viajan a través de la frontera tailandesa en Poipet. Para muchos, trabajan diariamente en las ciudades fronterizas cercanas, mientras que otros pueden aventurarse aún más trabajando por períodos de corto a largo plazo. Foto: Muse Mohammed / Organismo de las Naciones Unidas para la Migración (IOM).

Dozens of Cambodians commute through the Thai border in Poipet. For many, they work daily in nearby border towns while others might venture further in to work for short to long term periods. Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM)

New York – On Tuesday, 25 July, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and UN-Habitat will hold an event at UN Headquarters to recognize the role local authorities play in managing migration. This will take place on the margins of the fourth Informal Thematic Session of the Global Compact on Migration. 

This informal thematic consultation, hosted in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Belgium and Ecuador, will discuss how to better harness the economic, social and cultural contributions of migrants to their host cities and explore the role of local governments in enhancing the developmental impacts of migration. The main focus will be on reviewing policies to promote integration and inclusion for migrants, as part of broader multi-level migration governance frameworks. 

Ambassador Michel Lastschenko, Special Envoy for Asylum and Migration, Federal Government of Belgium, remarked, “Belgium is extremely pleased to support this event. We welcome this opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices for supporting migrants with integration and at the same time encourage them to contribute their resources, skills and ideas, to build, revitalize and enrich cities: socially, economically and culturally.”

The event will also serve as a platform to formally announce the organization of a Global Conference on Cities and Migration, hosted by the Belgian Federal Government and the City of Mechelen. The Conference, to take place on 16-17 November 2017, will serve as a preparatory event for offering a space to collect best practices from local governments, and for them to provide their inputs towards developing a Global Compact on Migration.

The Conference will also provide a first informal review on the implementation of the migration-related commitments of Habitat III, ahead of the first follow-up during the 9th World Urban Forum which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February 2018. 

Increasing migration to cities does not take place without challenges. Population growth in cities poses a great deal of pressure on infrastructure, the environment and the social fabric of the city. The pace of urbanization can disproportionately affect the capacity of national and local governments of low-income nations to cope. 

Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-Habitat, said: “We need better national policies, more engagement and adequate support for local governments to harness the significant benefits from migrants in our cities. In order to enable dignified support of migrants who come in large numbers, governments at all levels need to empower local actors and collaborate effectively to promote people-centred integration policies which both protect the human rights of migrants, and also to improve the quality of life for all those living in cities.”

In many countries, migration contributes to poverty reduction and enhanced human development by bringing significant social, economic and cultural benefits to cities and local communities. When well-managed, migration spurs economic growth, creates businesses and jobs, fills crucial labour and skills gaps, expands tax bases, contributes to social security schemes and promotes trade, investment and innovation.

Jill Helke, IOM Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships, said: “Migration is a people process, and it is actions by leaders, especially at the local level, which will determine whether and how migrants can unleash their potential to contribute successfully – economically, socially and culturally – with significant and long-lasting impact for themselves, their families, and communities.”

Further details about the event are available at:

For more information, please contact Lanna Walsh, IOM Office to the United Nations in New York, E-mail: or Filiep Decorte, UN-Habitat New York Liaison Office, Email: