6 August 2013, Geneva, Switzerland - The maxim “suddenly…all politics are municipal politics” holds true for the field of international migration and its impacts on development.  This fact is in no small measure influenced by the “largest migration in human history”, with 3.9 billion people moving to city centres by 2030 (as compared to 309 million in 1950). UNITAR’s Learning Platform on Human Mobility (LPHM), which is dedicated to supporting local and regional government in the field of migration is to convene a side-event on "Migration as a Catalytic Enabler for Development and the Role of Local and Regional Government" during the second United Nations General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in October 2013 in New York.

By inviting municipal leaders, other senior local and regional officials, and representatives of business and community interests, this side-event will draw from the voices and experiences of Local and Regional Government, emphasizing their role on the forefront in addressing the transformations and opportunities offered by a more mobile world. For this purpose, UNITAR is partnering with the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) and UNDP’s Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI).

The side-event will focus on advancing migration’s role as a catalytic enabler for development through a combined understanding of what are commonly understood as the most relevant objectives pertaining migration and development for the next decades:

  • reducing discrimination against migrants and protecting their rights;
  • lowering the human, social and economic costs of migration, including those related to recruitment, remittances, and obtaining documentation such as visas and residency permits;
  • expanding opportunities for migrants to more productively invest their earnings and share their knowledge; and
  • enlisting migrants and diaspora organizations in enhancing development in their communities of origin and destination.

In this context, the JMDI is also focusing on "Strengthening the contribution of migration for development by reinforcing its local dimension". The latest e-discussion of the JMDI, UNDP ART Initiative and the EUNOMAD Network, was entitled "Promoting a territorial approach to migration and development: the practices, frameworks and strategies of local authorities to harness the potential of migration for development". This e-discussion ran until 4 August, contributions were sought from local authorities, civil society organizations that have project on migration and development with local authorities and experts in the field of local development and governance. All contributions will be incorporated into a consolidated reply. You can find more information on this discussion here.