Geneva, October 28, 2015 – During the 26th and 27th of October, 2015, the Scalabrini International Migration Network [SIMN], represented by Leonir Chiarello (Executive Director) and Mario Zambiasi (Deputy Executive Director), participated at the High Level Conference on Migrants and Cities promoted within the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at the Palace of Nations in Geneva.
Cities attract a growing number of people searching for a decent quality of life, greater employment opportunities and better benefits, and also those attempting to flee conflict, natural disasters and environmental degradation. In 2014, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations estimated that more than half the world’s population lived in urban areas and the number of inhabitants in the cities would reach 6,400 million in 2050, equivalent to 66 percent of the global population.
Although many cities and local governments are aware of the realities that policy responses should consider the needs of migrants and include their perspective in the development of national and federal agendas, there are others who ignore them in the stages of development planning.
The overall objective of the conference was to raise awareness among local citizens and their leaders about the importance of the contributions of migrants and steer the debate towards the positive experience of migration and to the new possibilities of development that can benefit the local population. The specific objectives of the conference were: a) take advantage of various programs and local initiatives for migration management at the local level; b) promote understanding and make recommendations regarding the inclusion of migration in the planning of local, national and global development; c) fill the gaps between levels of migration management and determine how IOM and other relevant partners can provide greater assistance to local and national authorities in the fields of policy, research and operations; and d) enter into successful partnerships to manage mobility locally. From this perspective, “in the context of its memorandum of understanding with the IOM, SIMN is committed to strengthening the cooperation of local Scalabrinian entities with civil society, local and regional governments in promoting policies and programs aiming to protect and promote the dignity and rights of migrants and their families, ” said the executive director of SIMN, Leonir Chiarello, at the conclusion of the Conference.