Over 143 million people will be displaced by 2050 in Africa, Latin America and South Asia if we do not take steps to address climate change (World Bank). We must act now. The Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) has joined forces with the British Council to put a spotlight on city leaders and the importance of local action.
Registration is Open! Click here to join the High Level Meeting on Tuesday 20 April 2021, 16.00-18.00 CEST

The British Council and the Global Parliament of Mayors are proud to invite you to the high level meeting

“Uniting Mayors for Local Solutions to Global Climate Challenges”
Reflections on the impact of climate change and the rise of sea levels on
climate-related migration and the recommendations of mayors to go forward.

Programme 20 April, 16.00 – 18.00 hrs CEST 

  • 16.00 hrs CEST – Plenary Session 
    • Opening
      • GPM Chair Mayor Peter Kurz of Mannheim, Germany
      • Stephen Stenning, Head of Arts and Society, British Council
    • Keynote Speaker
      • António Vitorino, Director General of IOM
    • Presentation
      • Presentation research results by Professors Sheila Foster (Georgetown University) and Kamal Amakrane (Columbia University)
    • Plenary Debate
      • Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone and GPM member
      • Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul, the Gambia and GPM ExCo member
      • Anuela Ristani, Deputy Mayor of Tirana, Albania
      • Raúl Emilio Jatón, Mayor of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, Argentina 
    • Moderator Opening
      • Ian Klaus, Senior fellow on global cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • 17.00 hrs CEST – Parallel thematic debates on the impact on cities
    • Culture and Heritage
      Moderator: Dr. Ege Yildirim, Heritage Planner, former ICOMOS Focal Point for the SDGs
      Cultural and creative industries should be part of economic development strategies, according to the UNESCO report on culture and sustainable development. Creativity and culture have a significant non-monetary value that contributes to inclusive social development, to dialogue and understanding between peoples. Not all cities are impacted by climate change and migration in the same way. It is important to acknowledge this differentiation and employ a tailored solution to each city. The main questions that will be discussed in this session are:

      • Is the culture or cultural heritage in your city threatened due to climate change and migration?
      • How can the city best respond to protect its tangible and intangible cultural heritage?
      • How can the city leverage its cultural resources to build back better post-pandemic and to ensure more resilient communities?
    •  Innovative Policies on Financing tools
      Moderator: Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities
      Having access to finance is pivotal to both addressing challenges related to migration and leveraging opportunities resulting from migration. Cities can proactively explore alternate and innovative funding mechanisms besides government contributions and grants. Farebox revenues, developer contributions, tax supplements could be some of the few mechanisms that can be explored to fund projects across different sectors. It is also important for City governments to think about how small businesses, non-governmental organisations and other private bodies catering to this migration need can be incentivised. The main question that will be discussed in this session are:

      • Where should cities seek financing where there is a lack of awareness about climate-induced migration?
      • How can cities build innovative financing tools to fund their implementation of policy to tackle the issue?
    • Governance 
      Moderator: Dr. Shipra Narang Suri, Chief Urban Practices UN Habitat
      What proactive steps can cities undertake to stay involved on policy and legislation to support equal representation. Not all Cities are impacted by climate change and migration in the same way. It is important to acknowledge this differentiation and employ a tailored solution to each City. Thus an overarching policy envelope with a one-size-fits-all approach may not be the best course forward. Transfer of power, devolution of policy and strategy responsibilities, creating new statutory laws that provide increased authority to Cities to plan and implement interventions may be a few areas to start thinking about. A key role that Cities should first play here is to clearly articulate the gap and the need to fill the gap in governance processes.
    • The main question that will be discussed in this session is:

      • What should be the framework to address climate migration, and how can Mayors raise that awareness?
  • 18.00 hrs CEST – Closure
    • Conclusion and next steps towards mayoral Call to Action

Banjul, the Gambia

Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Tirana, Albania

Deputy Mayor Anuela Ristani

Mannheim, Germany

Mayor Peter Kurz

Hoima, Uganda

Mayor Grace Mary Mugasa

Trenggalek, Indonesia

Mayor Mochamad Nur Arifin

Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, Argentina

Mayor Raúl Emilio Jatón

Haifa, Israel

Mayor Einat Kalisch Rotem

Mogadishu, Somalia

Mayor Mohamud Mohamed Filish
Governor of Benadir Region

Rabat, Morocco

Mayor Mohamed Sadiki

Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Mayor José Maria Costa

Nansana, Uganda

Mayor Regina Nakazzi

Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Mayor Emil Boc

Buffalo City, South Africa

Mayor Xola Anderson Pakati

Afanloum, Cameroon

Mayor Marie Angele Meyanga

Mafra, Portugal

Mayor Hélder Sousa Silva

Basse, the Gambia

Mayor Foday Danjo

Iganga Municipality, Uganda

Mayor David Balaba

Puli Alam, Afghanistan

Former Mayor Naseer Ahmad Lilizai

Kabale, Uganda

Mayor Byamugisha Sentaro

Burgas, Bulgaria

Deputy Mayor Vesna Baltina

Ghent, Belgium

Former Mayor, Honorary member Daniel Termont

Munich, Germany

Deputy Mayor Katrin Habenschaden

Quelimane, Mozambique

Mayor Manuel de Araujo

Wollongong, Australia

Mayor Gordon Bradbery

Braga, Portugal

Mayor Ricardo Rio

Palermo, Italy

Mayor Leoluca Orlando

Montpellier, France

Councilor and Representing Mayor

El Qrayeh, Lebanon

Mayor Maroun Antoun

Nebbi, Uganda

Mayor Geoffrey Ngiriker

Izmir, Turkey

Mayor Tunç Soyer

Antsirabe, Madagascar

Mayor Rasamimanana Honoré Gabriel

Keynote Speaker

The high level meeting will be opened by António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization for Migration, and former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs. António Vitorino served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense of Portugal, from 1995 to 1997. He has chaired the Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs Committee in charge of Migration, Asylum, Justice and Fundamental Rights. During these years António Vitorino crafted leadership, management and negotiation skills at the highest level and developed in-depth knowledge of global and national migration contexts and related policy challenges.

Champion Climate Mayors

Banjul, the Gambia

Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe

Braga, Portugal

Mayor Ricardo Rio

Palermo, Italy

Mayor Leoluca Orlando


Senior fellow on global cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Ian Klaus

The high level meeting will be moderated by Ian Klaus, senior fellow on global cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously he served as diplomatic adviser to Urban 20 and C40 City Climate Leadership Group. Prior to that, he was senior adviser for global cities at the US Department of State. Klaus was deputy United States negotiator for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s advisory board on the future of urban development, the Creative Cities Working Group at Stanford University, a visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Ernest May Fellow for History and Security Studies at the Kennedy School of Government. He holds a PhD in international history from Harvard University, and is the author of Forging Capitalism (Yale, 2014) and Elvis is Titanic (Knopf, 2007).

Urban planner and Heritage Conservation Specialist

Dr. Ege Yildirim

Dr. Ege Yildirim is an urban planner and heritage conservation specialist with 20+ years of experience working in Turkey and internationally. Her work focuses on on heritage policy and governance; UNESCO World Heritage; and sustainable development. Based in Istanbul since 2013, she is an independent consultant and scholar. Her previous work includes positions of conservation planner at KA-BA Architecture Ltd, Ankara (200-06); conservation coordinator at Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (2008-12); consultant and Site Manager of the Historic Guild Town of Mudurnu (2014-2020); and Key Expert in the EU-Turkey Anatolian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Institute project, Gaziantep (2019). Ege was a Fulbright Scholar at Pratt Institute, New York (2006-07) and a J.M. Kaplan Fellow at Koç University, Istanbul (2013). Most recently, she has served as the ICOMOS Focal Point for the UN SDGs (2016-2020), and currently coordinates the Sustainability Thematic Debate of the OurWorldHeritage Initiative.

Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities

Lamia Kamal-Chaoui

The thematic debate on Innovative Policies on Financing tools will be moderated by Lamia Kamal-Chaoui. She is the Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities since 2016. She held several senior positions within the OECD since 1998, such as becoming the Head of the Urban Programme in the Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development from 2003 – 2012 and as the Senior Advisor to OECD Secretary-General from 2012-2016. She builds important strategic partnerships and collaboration strategies for the OECD such as Ford Foundations, World Bank, and Vatican Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace. She also became member of several International Committees and Advisory Board, such as the World Economic Forum Deputy Board of Trustees and Michael Bloomberg Mayors Challenge for Europe. She recently received the award of “Women of the Decade in Enterprise and Leadership”  from the Women’s Economic Forum.

Chief of Urban Practices at UN-Habitat

Dr. Shipra Narang Suri

The thematic debates on Governance will be moderated by Dr. Shipra Narang Suri. She is the Chief of Urban Practices at UN-Habitat. She is an urban planner with extensive experience in advising national and local governments, as well as private sector organisations and networks, on issues of urban planning and management, good urban governance and indicators, livability and sustainability of cities, urban safety, women and cities, as well as post-conflict/ post-disaster recovery. She has a Ph.D. in Post-War Recovery Studies in 2009 from the University of York, United Kingdom.

Research Team

Sheila Foster

Professor of Law and Public Policy
Georgetown University

Kamal Amakrane

Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs
Columbia University

Raghuveer Ramkumar

Senior Strategy Advisor, Arup Group
Doctoral Candidate, University of Bamberg

Mayors are optimally placed to address local challenges associated with climate displacement, working in tandem with their national and regional counterparts. The GPM will support these city leaders with tools and resources to take local action to address this global challenge. With the project ‘Uniting Mayors for Local Solutions to Global Climate Challenges’, the GPM will empower city leaders, from the Global North and South, especially low-lying areas threatened by rising sea levels, to ensure that their voices are heard among decision-makers on the global climate emergency. The GPM will also ensure that the voices of women, young people and diverse voices are included in the debate. Join the project ‘Uniting Mayors for Local Solutions to Global Climate Challenges’ to take part in an innovative urban response to climate change and climate-related migration and drive real global change!


Two dynamic and engaging virtual debates for mayors will be organised in April and June. Mayors will debate how to move forward both in their own communities, to protect their citizens from the threats of climate change, and together, as a governance body, to build up a coalition of mayors and communities to make real change. In October, Mayors will deliver a Call to Action, a uniting front to accelerate action on climate-related migration by promoting, guiding, monitoring and sharing experience on climate resilience amongst mayors. City networks and international organisations will be invited to join the debate and support the Call to Action. This Mayors Call to Action will be an integral framework, bringing together mayors to present their plans and push for climate-resilient action at COP-26 that will take place from 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow (UK).

During the first kickoff event Champion Climate Mayors welcomed mayors to join efforts and unite mayors to address climate-related migration towards the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26). Champion Climate Mayors will lead the GPM’s efforts on this important issue and help develop a Call to Action that lays out the vision at COP26 in November, hosted in Glasgow. This Call to Action can only be established when mayors unite and act together. To view the list of mayors that joined the project “Uniting Mayors for local solutions to global climate challenges” click here.