Cities and local authorities are at the heart of the migration movements and evidence shows that in 2013 there were 22 million migrants due to climate change and 51 million refugees avoiding persecution and wars, with a significant number coming from Africa. The current discourse on migration focuses much attention on the issue of security, which is why the solutions that have been put in place do not offer tangible results in the long run.
UCLG Africa highlights that people migrate from a local government to settle in another local government, therefore unless the human dimension of migration is addressed, which means treating the root causes of departure at the local level and the integration of migrants in the local societies they settle in, there is no way the issue of migration can find a suitable and sustainable response.
With regard to the diaspora borne out of the migration process, one should not ignore the huge contribution these migrants and the diaspora have made to the development of their localities and countries. Experts say that the remittances from migrants are now out-stripping the amount of international public aid with an annual figure of 300 billion US dollars in 2010, which is more than double the international development aid now standing at 149 billion US dollars. Africa receives annually 0.5 billion dollars from her migrants and diaspora, representing on average between 10 to 15% of the GDP. UCLG Africa advocates first and foremost, to consider the local treatment of the migration challenge before anything else, in order to handle it with humanity and care. During the Africities7 Summit in Johannesburg UCLG Africa’s membership adopted an African Local Government Charter on Migrants highlighting the need to protect the rights of migrants and to value their contribution to the local development.
Based on this evidence, UCLG Africa is proposing a specific local government-centered approach to the migration issue, which will provide technical assistance to cities implementing the African Local Government Charter on Migrants from UCLG Africa experts.