Gaziantep Declaration


Initiatives and Documents

The Municipal Forum 2019 highlights how approaches bridging humanitarian and development responses, such as the New Way of Working, have been put into practice to achieve the goals and objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Turkey, currently hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, has not only been a leading partner in the global discussions on the Compacts but also demonstrated how they can be successfully implemented. Turkish response highlights how development approaches can provide a critical added value to local authorities in mitigating the negative impact and maximizing the opportunities of displacement on local communities.

The two compacts as well as other international initiatives, such as the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), recognize and emphasize the role of cities and local authorities in humanitarian and development efforts. As it stands, migration and displacement have become primarily an urban phenomenon. Municipalities in Turkey and elsewhere are at the forefront of managing the impact of migrants and refugee movements as well as promoting inclusive, safe and sustainable societies. In this sense, any opportunity for local authorities to exchange and showcase the increasing role of cities and other local authorities in providing support to migrants and refugees has become even more important.

As such, in addition to drawing from the experience of Turkish and other municipalities involved in the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), the Forum builds on other recent initiatives promoting the role of local authorities in displacement. This includes:

  • The Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development was launched in 2013 following the UN GA High Level Debate on Migration and Development. In 2017, the Mayoral Forum was organized for the first time back-to-back with the Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD).1
  • The GFMD chairs (Germany and Morocco) formalized the connection between the GFMD and the Mayoral Forum in 2018. This led to the establishment of the GFMD Mayors Mechanism (MM).
  • The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) was established in December 20182 to empower and enable cities to engage in migration diplomacy and influence policymaking at regional and international level. IOM, UCLG, and the Mayors Migration Council constitute the Steering Committee of the GFMD Mayors Mechanism.
  • The UNHCR High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges from December 2018 also focused on the role of cities and local authorities in the delivery of protection and assistance in urban spaces. The Dialogue called for ensuring the participation of cities in decision-making at the global, regional and local level.


Global Refugee Forum

Additionally, the first ever Global Refugee Forum will take place on 17 and 18 December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The event will be co-hosted by UNHCR with Switzerland and co-convened by Turkey, Germany, Ethiopia and Costa Rica. With tens of millions of people affected by war, conflict and persecution, the Global Refugee Forum will be an opportunity for countries to take stock of today’s situation and to strengthen the international response. It follows the new Global Compact on Refugees that was agreed last December by the UN General Assembly and is part of its implementation.

The Global Refugee Forum is a unique occasion for States and others to come together and announce bold, new measures they will take to ease pressure on host countries, boost refugee self-reliance, and search for solutions. The Forum will bring together governments, international organizations, local authorities, civil society, the private sector, host community members, and refugees themselves. New contributions and proposals to advance these objectives are expected during the Forum and after.

The outcomes of the Municipal Forum 2019 will feed directly into the global level discussions on the implementation of the Global Compacts, notably into the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) to be organized in December 2019as well as the 2019 Mayoral Forum to be organized in Quito in November 2019 as well as into other key events such as the UCLG World Congress and the Global Parliament of Mayors Annual Summit which will take place in Durban, in November 2019.


Gaziantep Declaration

Based on the existing documents and initiatives and feeding into global discussions and initiatives, the forum will also adopt the 2019 Gaziantep Declaration as a collective input of local authorities around the world concerning the global discussions on migrations and refugees. The 2019 Gaziantep Declaration reflecting, inter alia, good practices on the implementation of global and regionally agreed principles on local solutions to migration and displacement. The draft version will be shared with the participant Municipalities for their review in advance and the agreed version will be signed at the end of the Forum. The Declaration will be communicated to the GRF, the GFMD and its Mayors’ Mechanism, the Global Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development, and to UCLG Congress to feed in these respective discussions.

Please find the declaration here.

For more information: Municipal Forum Concept Note


External links:



1- The GFMD is a state led process functioning as a bridge between countries of origin, transit and destination. The GFMD is outside of the UN, but reports to the High Level Political Forum reviewing progress towards the SDGs