Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants: Critical Challenges for Sustainable Urbanization

United Nations Headquarters, New York May 18, 2016, 14.00-18.00

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Co-organizers: @CSU_org @UNHABITAT_NY @Refugees @ilo @IOMatUN @uclg_org @CenterForArch @ItalyUN_NY, #GlobalMigrationGroup and #NetworkEleven

See the webcast at the UN Web TV

More than half of the world’s refugees and displaced live in urban areas, often in fragile cities with high levels of inequality. If unplanned, migration and forced displacement can accelerate growth of informal settlements and exacerbate existing inequalities, social tensions, risks, and lack of access to basic services and infrastructure. At the same time, examples of cities from across the globe demonstrate the opportunities cities offer for a dignified life, how migrants and refugees are key to economic growth and how they can be integrated socially and spatially.

The new Global Alliance for Urban Crises has put forward the principle to manage migration flows and displacement as both a humanitarian and development challenge. To that end, the Sustainable Development Goal 11 on ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’ and the New Urban Agenda under discussion provide the opportunity to highlight the power of urban planning and design. This event will help to shape key messages for the High Level Summit on Refugees and Migrants planned for 19 September 2016.

Key objectives of the event:

  • To identify how large movements of refugees and migrants can be harnessed in support of sustainable urbanization, taking into account that the average displacement easily stretches over several generations;
  • To review innovative design and planning practises that can address the critical challenges for refugees and migrants, while insuring social cohesion and equitable access to services, housing and livelihoods;
  • To discuss the role of local governments in managing refugee and migration flows.

Draft programme
14.00 Opening remarks + key note
14.45 Inter-active Dialogue Session I: challenges and opportunities
Inter-active Dialogue Session II: challenges and opportunities
17:00 Way forward to the High Level Summit on Refugees and Migrants
17:45 Conclusion

Invited speakers include:
• Secretary General of the United Nations, President of the General Assembly, President of the ECOSOC, Permanent Representatives of Italy and Lebanon, Executive Director of UN-Habitat and Secretary-General of the Habitat III Conference, Representatives of the Global Migration Group, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, ILO, IOM, IRC, Office Special Advisor for the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants
• UCLG, Mayors of Victoria (Seychelles), Bangangte (Cameroun), Patterson (USA), Kitchener (Canada), Vice Mayor of Athens (Greece), NYC Mayor’s Office
• Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), ENNEAD Lab, AIA NY Chapter, Government Architect (Netherlands)
• Consortium for Sustainable Urbanisation


Mission of Italy to the United Nations, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), UNHCR, IOM, ILO, UCLG, Global Migration Group, Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization (CSU), American Institute of Architects -NY Chapter, Digital Technologies for Sustainable Urbanization (Network 11)


RefugeesMigrantsCities Final Agenda 18May2016

RefugeesMigrantsCities Announcement 18May2016

RefugeesMigrantsCities Speakers Bios 18May2016