The Quezon City Government hosted the Third Global Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development (3GMF) which took place from September 29-30, 2016 at Novotel Hotel in Quezon City.
Fifty-eight mayors, governors, prefects and other local officials from 24 countries converged at the forum to share perspectives, challenges and concerns in managing diversity in their cities. It also featured sessions and panel discussions from international and regional organizations, networks oflocal and regional authorities.
Partners of the QC-LGU as organizers were the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), the World Bank's Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Asian Development Bank, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).
The 3GMF is follow-through on the commitments and action plans made during the previous Mayoral Forums in Barcelona, Spain and Quito, Ecuador in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
The forum focused on two major topics: the role of diaspora in furthering development in communities of origin and destination; and the protection of migrants in vulnerable situations within urban centers.
These topics are in consonance with the declaration made by the participants of the 2nd Mayoral Forum in 2015 through the Local Agenda on Mobility and Development that, "we are committed to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 to address the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people, including the promotion and protection of the welfare and well-being of migrants."
Mayor Herbert Bautista welcomed the delegates, saying, "The broad scale of partnerships that this forum has brought together underscores the importance of the focus of this conference, and how universal the problems and challenges are. We are all here because we are familiar with the issues surrounding migration, whether this is voluntary and positively leads to a better quality of life; or if it is involuntary, forced by hardship, crisis or war.”
He added, "Globalization and ease of travel has made human mobility and migration realities that are growing before us in greater numbers. We have reached out further than most cities in our country in localizing programs designed to assist overseas Filipino workers, pioneering and comprehensive in initiatives to ease their transition to working and living abroad legally, and to help those coming back to the city to start a new life, which can be just as economically fulfilling."
Speakers included UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia Irena Vojackova-Sollorano, World Bank KNOMAD Capacity Building Chairman and UNITAR Senior Advisor Dr. Coleen Thouez, Joint Migration and Initiative head Cecile Riallant, and Quito, Ecuador's Secretary of Inclusion Cesar Mantilla.
The forum discussions dealt with concrete ways by which city administrations can transform migration in a positive experience. Essential to developing responsive programs would be to build the capacity of city governments to: building data on diaspora; identify and address obstacles to productive engagement with diaspora; manage diversity and working with diaspora to mitigate xenophobia for social, economic and cultural inclusion and growth; and promote the use of new technologies for communication and project implementation to connect and promote growth.
During the forum, the University of the Philippines was designated as the official research arm of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
Sessions also shed light on the vulnerabilities of migrants in various phases of migration - from pre-departure, on-site and upon return. The learnings are expected local authorities come up with mechanisms to reduce all forms of violence and violations of migrants’ rights; address the gender dimension of migrants in vulnerable situations, especially women and children; and ensure the human rights of migrants and displaced regardless of migratory status.