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How European mayors are tackling the migrant crisis

The influx of refugees has tested the resilience of cities to develop both short and long-term strategies to cope with their new residents. Kirsty Tuxford highlights the problems that European cities are facing and asks mayors how migration will affect long-term development
Refugees at the Slovenia-Croatia border
Photo: Canonman29

Images of dishevelled migrants arriving in Europe on overcrowded boats, with tiny children clinging desperately to them have grabbed the world’s attention. The plight of these desperate people as they trudge across Europe in search of a new home has been covered widely in the media from a humanistic point of view, but what about the cities where they end up? How does a city administration cope with such an influx of displaced people?

“Addressing migration surges at a local level can be daunting,” says Dan Lewis, Chief of the Urban Risk Reduction Unit, and Head of the City Resilience Profiling Programme at UN-Habitat. “Once refugees and other migrants arrive in destination countries, local governments are expected to provide resources, management, and financial commitments to support them.”

UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Programme seeks to build local governments’ capacity to absorb and recover quickly from the impact of all plausible shocks and stresses. The methodology involves using a systems approach to test this capacity against environmental, social and economic risk, and recommending measures to adjust the physical, functional, organisational and spatial aspects of a city to create or improve its resilience.

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Cities without borders How mayors are taking the lead on the migrant crisis - The new role of insurers in resilience planning - Which city will be first to carbon neutrality? -The need for global standards on urban data Cities Today is the only global magazine containing analysis, comment and best practices on sustainable urban development, connecting local governments with public and private sector solutions. With an expert editorial advisory board comprising the World Bank, UN-Habitat, UNEP, and city associations ICLEI, C40, UCLG ASPAC, UCLG Africa, UCLG MEWA, Sister Cities International and FLACMA, the publication highlights the challenges facing city leaders and local governments in mobility, finance, smart technology, health care, energy efficiency, water, sanitation, security and housing

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