Hosted by the Mayors Mechanism of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in the framework of the GFMD 13th Summit, the session on “Enabling local solutions for inclusive COVID-19 response and recovery” discussed local-to-national partnerships for migration policy, as well as priorities for joint action, barriers to success, and solutions for greater collaboration on migration policy-making going forward during the COVID-19 era. The session highlighted the need for participation of regional and local authorities in the development of migration policies, review of often restrictive national legal frameworks, and direct access of regional and local authorities to international funding.
Sophie van Haasen, GFMD Mayors Mechanism Coordinator, highlighted the session forms an integral part of the GFMD Summit, creating a space for dialogue between local, regional and national governments. She noted the opportunity to exchange insights on migration policy, including challenges and innovative solutions, in the particular context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
António Vitorino, Director General, IOM, stressed that local authorities should be able to participate not only in the implementation, but also in the design and evaluation of migration policies, in line with the principles of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. He commended the United Arab Emirates as the current Chair of the GFMD for facilitating integration of the perspectives of local governments, and the Mayors Mechanism for showcasing the strong determination of mayors to ensure protection of migrants.
The session featured representatives from national, regional and local governments around the globe. Three roundtables discussed:
- response and recovery efforts at the local and national levels, including challenges regarding effective local-national coordination, lessons learnt and recommendations going forward;
- issues related to national legal frameworks governing the competencies of local governments, including whether they sufficiently enable local governments to implement COVID-19 response and recovery efforts; and
- ways for the GFMD community to channel international funding directly to cities to enable an inclusive COVID-19 response.
The two-hour session was held virtually on 22 January 2021. The GFMD 13th Summit is convening virtually from 18-26 January 2021 under the central theme “The Future of Human Mobility: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development.”