The intricate interplay between cities and migration

Cities are centres of demographic, social, economic and political change, and magnets for migrants from near and far. Migrants living and working in cities often become agents of social, economic and political change, with cities acting as centres of innovation, invention and originality.

More than half of the world’s people today are living in urban areas. By 2060, two thirds of our planet’s population will be urban. Cities throughout the world are contributing significantly to economic growth and migrants gravitate towards them. Urban areas are where migration’s impact on human and economic development is most evident.

The interplay between migration and urbanization poses both challenges and opportunities for the migrants, communities, cities and governments concerned. Although national authorities control the movement of people across international borders, cities are the primary destination for internal and international migrants.

Cities are on the frontlines of assisting migrants to find work and shelter, and to obtain access to services. Therefore, the perspectives and activities of local authorities are key to the success of countries in managing migration and assisting migrants.

To harness the development impacts of migration and address its challenges, national and local governments need to collaborate and coordinate their activities in this area for the benefit of all.

To this end, an expert group meeting on “Sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration,” will be organized by the Population Division of UN DESA at UN Headquarters from 7 to 8 September 2017.

The meeting will bring together representatives of academia, international organizations, Member States and local governments to discuss these issues and make recommendations in preparation for the upcoming session of the Commission on Population and Development, to be held in New York from 9 to 13 April 2018.

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