In our Pact for the Future, migrants and refugees are first and foremost neighbours


On World Refugee  Day, the municipalist movement stands #WithRefugees  and  renews its  commitment  to the principles of  the Lampedusa Charter.

For more than a century, the municipalist movement has been defending that transformation can only happen through solidarity and responsibility sharing within and among territories. Our legacy of decentralized cooperation and city diplomacy gives us the strength and the responsibility to continue to seek better lives for all our neighbors. By rethinking citizenship beyond administrative status, with dignity and solidarity at the center of our action, the Lampedusa Charter for Dignified Human Mobility and Territorial Solidarity lays the foundation for a renewed governance framework that builds on territorial realities and refocuses the Right to the City as a fundamental principle.


This World Refugee Day, the municipalist movement recalls that in our territories everyone is a neighbour. Our commitment for a new social contract,  embedded in  the Pact for the Future and triggered by the Power of we, compels us to work together for territories of dignity, equity, recognition,  participation, solidarity, community and resilience.


Against the rampant growth of inequalities triggered by conflict and fragility, extractivism, injustice, natural disasters and climate change, the municipalist movement acknowledges the urgency of a new social contract. Conscious that our transformative power as a network lies in our diversity, through our Pact for the future,  We affirm that the ambitious goals of Our Common  Agenda set by the UN Secretary General, will only be possible as long as they include, recognize and protect the rights of all. Aware that our responsibilities exceed the limits of our mandates and resources,and our determination to work in unison to bridge the governance gaps that threaten the lives, rights and  memory of thousands of people every  day.

“Local and regional government associations are, and will continue to be, key players in positioning human rights as a central element. We are key in providing spaces for the participation of those non-state actors who raise the voices of our communities. In this way, we will be able to strengthen ties and ensure that the issues that matter are at the centre of the discussions, building bridges between local realities and global trends” Carolina  Cossé, UCLG President.

Safe human mobility cannot be achieved without ensuring the dignity and protection of the rights of all persons at all stages of the process, regardless of the motives behind moving and regardless of administrative status. It is not the migratory process that defines the vulnerabilities, but the discriminations and human rights violations that certain groups of the population endure across the journey. The human rights approach recalls how societal inequalities are not natural and highlights the potential of inclusive policy-making to address the structural causes of these inequalities as human rights violations. It also offers an opportunity to review public service delivery schemes by enhancing trust and equity, so that all inhabitants can seek protection and support in host territories regardless of their administrative status.

“We cannot be mere observers. With the Lampedusa Charter, our constituency unambiguously assumes its responsibility and demands that the new social contract repairs the mistakes and losses of the past and is grounded in fair, transparent and inclusive governance that welcomes, protects and celebrates diversity.  In our Pact for the Future, the Lampedusa Charter is our guide to ensure that human mobility is a safe channel through which to exercise the right to start afresh, to seek new horizons and to contribute to transforming our territories into diverse places of peace and social innovation” Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General

Dignified human mobility requires prompt and effective humanitarian assistance where needed, as well as alternatives to detention and to the array of violent measures that further criminalize and stigmatize human mobility. This includes the protection and recognition of groups and individuals from civil society, institutions and others, that assist and protect migrants and displaced communities.

“I had run for office as I wanted to address the problems of my fellow citizens, the roads, the schools, the health care issues, and instead I find myself seeing dead people and mobilising to find a decent burial for all these people. I look forward with hope and confidence to the common efforts we will make for the implementation of the Lampedusa Charter, as this will be done to the benefit of our local community as well as for the betterment of how the European societies will deal with a complex phenomenon which has been always managed as an a emergency and as source of disputes between Member States.” Filippo Mannino, Mayor of Lampedusa

Together with our partners in the territories, in governments and in institutions, our constituency is committed to improving technical capacities and widening political spaces to ensure that local governments, as the sphere of government closest to the people, can fulfil their role of preserving rights by guaranteeing the new essentials. Among these, in addition to the strengthening and redistribution of the care system, it is essential to review the links between humanitarian, development and peace. The upcoming World Refugee Forum from 12  to 15 December is a critical moment to move together towards a more just common future for people who are forced to flee and for the societies that host them.