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Project news article: MC2CM: Migrant sensitive urban COVID-19 responses contribute to Global Compacts

9 February 2021


While the COVID19 pandemic affected all countries, cities and societies, it particularly took a toll on vulnerable populations, people on the move, migrants and refugees. It put into question the central objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Global Compacts for Migration and Refugees to “leave no one behind”. Along the same lines, COVID19 demonstrated the significance of adopting whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches to achieve the Global Compacts’ goals, especially as the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing difficulties, such as homelessness, poverty, unemployment, and inequalities of all sorts.

Many municipalities were able to translate the Global Compacts for Refugees and Migration into action through their recovery efforts. Goal 7 of the GCM states the need to take migrant populations into account in crisis response. In spring 2020, the city of Sfax cooperated with NGOs and international organizations to support vulnerable populations, and update its database. Goal 15 of the GCM highlights the need to ensure safe access to services to everyone, which prompted the city of Vienna to establish multilingual information centres on COVID19. Additionally, Global Compacts advocate for social inclusion, and leveraging contribution of migrants. It is in that sense that the municipalities of Tunis, Milan and Durban partnered with migrant associations, who played the roles of mediators to support refugees and migrants who were previously unreachable by local authorities. Furthermore, both the GCM and the GCR call to fight discrimination, thus, the municipality of Rabat prepared an action plan for awareness raising against racism and hate speech. Lastly, the COVID19 crisis has reinforced the trend to build back through equal partnerships. The city of Madrid launched public-private partnerships to raise funds and shelter homeless populations.

This publication, which focuses on five areas of intervention, will explore further municipal recovery responses that were sensitive to the needs and contributions of migrants and refugees. It also demonstrate the crucial role played by local governments and the efforts deployed in order to proactively push inclusive recovery strategies for host communities, migrants and refugees. 

This study was issued by the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration (MC2CM) project, which contributes to improved migration governance at urban level, including migrants' access to basic services and human rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Download the study in English, French or Arabic