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.
THE UNITING MAYORS PROJECT
Mayors are optimally placed to address local challenges associated with climate displacement, working in tandem with their national and regional counterparts. With the project ‘Uniting Mayors for Local Solutions to Global Climate Challenges’ in 2021, the GPM has supported city leaders from the Global North and South, especially low-lying areas threatened by rising sea levels, with tools and resources to take local action to address this global challenge and to ensure that their voices are heard among decision-makers on the global climate emergency. The GPM has especially encouraged women and young people to take part in an innovative urban response to climate change and climate-related migration.
Research on Local Responses to Climate-Forced Displacement & Migration
Professors Sheila Foster (Georgetown University) and Kamal Amakrane (Columbia University) conducted an assessment on the level of awareness among local leaders from the Global North and Global South about how climate–forced displacement and migration is affecting their communities, as well as the extent to which they are preparing, with or without support from other levels of government, to protect displaced communities and help receiving ones. The research report served as the framework of the Call to Action that was launched in November. Click here to read the research report.
Four dynamic and engaging virtual debates for mayors
- In February, the Uniting Mayors project officially started with a kick-off meeting chaired by GPM Climate Champion Mayors Lowe (Banjul, The Gambia) and Rio (Braga, Portugal). Deputy mayor Susan Aitken of Glasgow (UK) was one of the speakers and presented the outline of COP26 and the role of the UK as host of COP26. Click here for the programme and participants of the kick-off event.
- In April, mayors, representatives of global city networks and IOs came together at a high-level meeting to reflect on the cities’ preparedness regarding climate-related migration, the financial consequences of migration on sending and receiving cities, as well as the impact these movements have on cultural heritage and city leadership. For the programme and participants of the high-level meeting, click here. The written report is available here.
- In July, the GPM hosted an official side-event during the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) of the United Nations, along with IOM, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as well as the Mayors Migration Council-C40 Task Force on Climate and Migration. The debate on ‘Climate change and human mobility: working with mayors to advance SDGs 10 and 13’ was an unique opportunity for mayors to discuss the topic of climate-related displacement with representatives of national governments and UN officials.
- In October, a dedicated session on climate migration was part of the GPM Annual Summit 2021 “Reset: Cities Leading in a New Era”. Mayors from the Global North and South, and representatives of international organisations such as IOM and the Atlantic Council, discussed how to build resilience and advocate for inclusive adaptation programmes by linking local knowledge and global resources through locally-situated leaders.
Please refer to the webpage on the GPM Summit 2021 for the Summit programme and the participants. A summary of the Summit debate on climate migration is available in the written report of the Summit.
Call to Action
The outcome of all the mayoral debates on climate migration led to the Call to Action “Climate Change, Cities and Forced Migration: Advancing Knowledge, Action and Collaboration” that the GPM launched early November. The Call to Action has been signed by more than 40 mayors together with city networks representing hundreds of cities and metropolitan areas around the world. GPM Chair Mayor Peter Kurz (Mannheim, Germany) addressed the urgent issue of climate migration at COP26 in Glasgow in November.
Click here for the CALL TO ACTION and the mayors, city networks and international organisations that signed the Call to Action.
Banjul, the Gambia
Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe
Mayor Ricardo Rio
Mayor Leoluca Orlando