THE GOVERNANCE OF MIGRATION IN CITIES CROSSED BY MIGRATORY ROUTES: RESPONSES AND ATTITUDES OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORITIES IN AFRICA
In the framework of the 12th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in Quito, Ecuador, from 20-24 January 2020, which for the first time since its organization, integrated the Mayors’ Mechanism on Migration (composed of UCLG, IOM and the Council of Mayors for Migration). UCLG Africa organized a session on the Governance of migration in cities crossed by migratory routes in the framework of the 7th Forum of Mayors. This session, organized with the support of the partners of the mayors’ mechanisms, aimed to share the experience of cities in West Africa (Gao Mali, Agadez-Niger) and North Africa (Tunis-Tunisia and Arbaoua-Morocco) in terms of the reception and management of migrants in the light of their national context.
Ms. Fatna El Khiel, Mayor of Arbaoua, and President of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Morocco; Mr. Rhissa Feltou Mayor of Agadez, Niger, whose city recently suffered a serious fire at a UNHCR migrant camp, following the anger of its occupants; Mr. Ben Maouloud Mohamed, Deputy Mayor of Gao, Mali, with whom the municipal team strongly opposes the construction of a migrant detention centre on its territory; and Mr. Mounir Srarfi, Deputy Mayor of Tunis, were the continent’s main speakers at this session. With them, Ms. Darla America Anguiano of the Youth Forum presented the youth perspective for the improvement of policies for the inclusion of young migrants.
The elected representatives present, whose cities are considered to be veritable crossroads of migration routes in the Western Mediterranean (Spanish coasts) and Central Mediterranean (leading to the Italian coasts), each gave a presentation on the situation of their respective cities and countries (challenges, opportunities and prospects), highlighting the benefits of governance based on respect for human rights.
Three key elements emerged from these exchanges to enable the implementation of governance capable of ensuring the conditions for a dignified reception of migrants:
Partnership with civil society organizations and UN organizations specialized (UNHCR, IOM) in the field of migration, as is already the case for example in Morocco, Niger, Mali and Tunisia. This partnership implies a quadripartite dialogue between the State, UN agencies, local authorities and associations at the local level, for the emergence of effective and sustainable solutions;
Solidarity between local and regional authorities, which implies the search for solutions among peers and the sharing of experiences. In this regard, it was recalled the creation of various solidarity movements of cities on the issue of migration in Africa as in Europe and in Africa, the cities that have signed the Charter of local and subnational governments of Africa on Migration constitute the first network of its kind on the continent;
The respect of commitments whether at the international, regional, national or territorial level. Each commitment made by the State must be respected. Decentralization laws, for example, should be aligned with the content of the Global Compact on Migration and enshrine the responsibility of local authorities in the management of migration.
The session made some recommendations and key messages to the Mayors’ Forum, including the following:
- Include the Charter of local and subnational governments of Africa on Migration in the advocacy tools, as well as the declaration of the Mayors of Marrakech, for the implementation of local policies on migration;
- Facilitate the access of cities located on migration routes to the projects and support programmes of NGOs and international organizations;
- Strengthening local diplomacy through exchange programs and sharing of experiences between cities;
- Secure migration routes and the rights of migrants and refugees, especially those of vulnerable people (women, children, people with disabilities, etc.);
- Make cities safe places where all persons without distinction have access to basic services and preservation of their dignity.
- Promote the inclusion of migrants in cities and end their exclusion and stigmatization (migrant and refugee holding centres).