Turkey: Global forum urges change in migration approach


Meeting in southeastern Turkey, dozens of mayors from countries worldwide on Wednesday adopted a declaration calling for a transition in countries’ approach to migration from emergency to resilience. 

The agreement, dubbed the Gaziantep Declaration for the province where it was signed, reflects the best practices on the implementation of globally and regionally agreed upon principles regarding local solutions to migration and forced displacement, said the signers.

More than 30 majors from 13 countries gathered with stakeholders from UN agencies, governments, municipalities, cities, international and local NGOs, private sector groups, and civil society to adopt the declaration.

The declaration stresses the importance of humanitarian and development-minded responses and calls on various actors to cooperate towards collective outcomes in migration and displacement.

With the declaration, the mayors and stakeholders committed to globally promoting efforts to transition to a resilience approach, rather than one envisaging the situation as an emergency, in response to complex refugee-related situations.

Multi-level governance, civil society, gender equality, and social cohesion were highlighted as anchors for long-term success, and also urged inclusive access to quality services, new technologies, innovation and data management at the local level as important factors in migration management.

Notably, the declaration highlighted the importance of working with international donors and other sources of funding whose contributions would play a vital role in improving services for refugee and migrant communities.

The declaration followed the International Forum on Local Solutions to Migration and Displacement on Nov. 26-27, and was co-hosted by the Gaziantep Municipality, Turkey’s municipalities union, the World Academy for Local Government and Democracy (WALD), the United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA), and a variety of UN agencies such as the UN Development Program (UNDP), together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Since the start of the bloody civil war in Syria, the Turkish government followed an open-door policy for war-battered Syrians, making Turkey the world’s top refugee-hosting country.

According to the official figures, Turkey currently hosts over 3.6 million Syrians, up to 2 million of whom are planning to resettle in northern Syria, an area recently cleared of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorism by the Turkish army.
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