Beirut joins four other cities to deliver solutions for urgent needs of migrants and displaced
Beirut, 7 January 2021. Today, Beirut was selected as a recipient of the inaugural Global Cities Fund for Inclusive Pandemic Response, a $1,000,000 initiative to respond to the unmet needs of cities as they support migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people (IDPs) during COVID-19. Launched by the Mayors Migration Council, a mayor-led advisory organization that helps cities influence national and international policy on migration and refugee issues, the Global Cities Fund will provide direct financial and technical support over one year to Beirut and four other cities from low-to-middle income countries to implement projects related to health, employment, livelihoods, and social protection.
Beirut, in partnership with UN-Habitat, will use the funds to purchase and operate the city’s first Municipal Mobile Health Clinic, which will provide free and non-discriminatory COVID-19 testing and other basic medical services to any individual who is unable to access these services currently, including migrants and refugees in marginalized neighborhoods.
With 95 percent of reported COVID-19 cases in urban areas, cities are on the frontlines of the global public health crisis and its socio-economic impact. The pandemic presents unique challenges to many urban migrants, refugees, and IDPs due to their legal and immigration status, their reliance on informal employment, and their restricted access to public health services and benefits. Their experiences are complicated by language and cultural barriers, xenophobia, racism, and discrimination. Since the onset of the pandemic, the city of Beirut recorded close to 20,000 cases, where one third is active today, and 177 deaths.
“The Municipality of Beirut welcomes the support of the Mayors Migration Council. This move comes as part of our continuous efforts to respond to the challenges and opportunities of migration, looking to support all inhabitants during this difficult time in our city’s history. Thanks to the Global Cities Fund, we are happy to announce that the Beirut Mobile Health Clinic will reach the neighborhoods where it is needed the most and provide crucial healthcare to those who would otherwise be left behind,” said Jamal Itani, Mayor of Beirut.
“Mayors continue to adeptly respond and implement solutions that include those who are often left behind or overlooked. We are excited to provide direct access to funding and technical support to local leaders who are working to rebuild their communities in an inclusive way. We hope other international actors will join us in recognizing the benefits of providing cities and their residents with the resources they need to unlock their full potential,” said Ms. Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director of the Mayors Migration Council.
A Selection Committee of subject matter experts and practitioners reviewed submissions and selected Beirut and other city grantees based on their anticipated impact, commitment from city leadership, and likelihood of program’s institutionalization or replication for continued support to migrants, refugees, and IDPs, among other criteria. The final cities include Barranquilla, Colombia; Beirut, Lebanon; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, Mexico.
You can learn more about Beirut’s Municipal Mobile Health Clinic here. Visit https://www.mayorsmigrationcouncil.org/gcf and follow #GlobalCitiesFund on social media for more information on the Global Cities Fund.
About the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries supporting people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future. Working with governments and local partners, its high impact projects combine world-class expertise and local knowledge to deliver timely and targeted solutions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated Goal on cities, SDG 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
About the Mayors Migration Council
The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) is a mayor-led advisory organization that helps cities influence national and international policy on migration and refugee issues. The mission is to ensure that global responses both reflect and address realities on the ground for the benefit of newcomers and the communities that receive them.
To fulfill this vision, the MMC works to institutionalize cities’ formal access to national, regional, and international policy deliberations; build cities’ diplomatic, advocacy, and communications skills so they can effectively shape decisions; unlock and direct resource flows to cities so they can deliver better outcomes on the ground; and help cities implement local solutions efficiently and at scale to accelerate global commitments.
The MMC is led by a Leadership Board composed of the mayors of Amman, Bristol, Freetown, Kampala, Los Angeles, Milan, Montreal, São Paulo, and Zürich, as well as the former mayor of Athens. The MMC operates with the financial support of Open Society Foundations, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and is managed as a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides governance and operational infrastructure.