Against indifference: 10 years after the Lampedusa tragedy, we need to do better together


A decade has passed since that fateful day when the world bore witness to the tragedy that unfolded off the shores of Lampedusa. Many others would follow, but that tragedy shocked our collective conscience and still illustrates today the painful consequences of global indifference. The loss of so many lives was a stark reminder of our shared responsibility to protect and uphold the fundamental principles of human dignity.


Despite the world’s tendency to turn a blind eye to the plight of those that risk their lives hoping to improve them, Lampedusa, and the global constituency of cities represented by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), remained steadfast in their mission prevent the lost of human lives. In the face of indifference, we found strength in our commitment to the principles enshrined in the UCLG Lampedusa Charter on Dignified Human Mobility and Territorial Solidarity.


The Principles of  the Lampedusa Charter guide our steps as a beacon of hope and a testament to our unwavering belief in the fundamental rights of all individuals, regardless of their place of birth or circumstances. They call upon us to uphold the principles of solidarity, justice, and inclusivity, and to reject the forces of division and discrimination.


As we reflect on the past decade, we are reminded of the resilience and courage of those on the move, who have faced unimaginable hardships in search of safety and a better life. We also recognize the strength of communities that have opened their doors and hearts to newcomers, offering support and solidarity in the face of adversity.



For those who perished, we can only honour their memory. For those who survived and  for generations to come, we have the responsibility to do better. As we remind  the world about the horror that visited  our shores, we issue a powerful call to institutions worldwide: Listen meaningfully to the voices of territories, cities, and communities.Suppot them in their endeavors to welcome and include all. Work with us in fulfilling the pressing need to build capacity and to address this phenomenon as a shared responsibility by all spheres of government, beyond borders. Failure to do so would be inhumane, a betrayal of our shared humanity, and a disregard for the principles that bind us together as a global community. At the SDG Summit, we just renewed our commitment to work together, collaborating across local, national, and international realities, to ensure that no one is left behind.


In the memory of those who perished on that tragic day, and in honor of the survivors who continue to seek a better life, let us reaffirm our commitment to the values of dignity, solidarity, and human mobility. Together, we can create a world where no one is left behind, and where the principles of the UCLG Lampedusa Charter guide us towards a future of hope and inclusion.


Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General

Filippo Mannino, Mayor of Lampedusa