Open Sessions

SOU 45 - Exploring the opportunities and mitigating challenges of hosting refugees in urban and rural settings

22 Nov

22 November

14:30 to 17:30

Venue: Kénitra


The UN Refugee Agency(UNHCR)





Africa hosts more refugees than any other region of the world and more than half of the world’s refugee populations live in urban areas today. The aim of this event is to bring city officials - mayors and city leaders from Africa together discuss the opportunities and how to mitigate challenges of hosting refugees in urban and rural settings so that refugees and asylum seekers thrive together along with the hosting community. Latest figures show a continuation of a five-year upward trend in the number of people displaced by conflict or persecution worldwide. At the global level – UN member states are developing a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) which will transform the way the international community responds to refugee crises and create a more predictable and equitable support for the countries and communities which host them. Cities will play a vital role in making it work. The event will be organized by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa). All of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) deal in one way or another with the deep structural problems that lie behind increasing global displacement. This meeting will specifically contribute to meeting SDG #17 to strengthen global partnerships to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda, bringing together national governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector and other actors. The objectives of the session are:
  1. Present the findings of the IFC study ‘Kakuma as a Marketplace’ which describes how the deliberate creation of shared marketplace increased opportunities for both the refugees and the host community; as well as opportunities for agriculture and entrepreneurship.
  2. Highlight the pioneering solutions that many countries are adopting, including in Kenya, Morocco and Niger to protect, assist and include refugees.
  3. Present efforts made by state officials, mayors and other city officials to address refugees’ challenges to secure formal employment, access education and health services, housing, have the freedom of movement or own property.
  4. Increase the recognition of the role of local governments in addressing large inflows of refugee and highlight their needs in terms of urban infrastructure, services, and administrative systems
  5. Develop networks to foster exchange of experiences and mutual learning between cities/ municipalities and local governments.
  6. Explore the role of the private sector in supporting refugee entrepreneurship and self-employment, migrants and other disadvantaged groups.
  7. Call to actions—inviting cities to sign the Cities #WithRefugees solidarity statement




  1. Welcome: Secretary-General, Jean-Pierre Elong-MbassiOpening Remarks: Representative from the Moroccan state government–Ministry of Migration Affairs (TBC)Moderator: Madame Fathia El Aouni Rédactrice en Chef Radio 2MPan Africa- (45 min with two videos) ,
    1. IFC Representative, Luba Shara (20 minutes)
    2. Mayor Niamey, Niger, Mr. Mamoudou Mouctar (20 minutes)

    Focus on Morocco ( 90 minutes)

    1. Mayor of Marrakech Mr. Mohamed Larbi Belcaid
    2. M. Laaziz Kadiri President of Africa, South-South Cooperation Commission
    3. Refugee M. Al-Bacha
    4. UNHCR Representative of Morocco, Jean-Paul Cavalieri

    Closing Proposed resolutions and recommendations (30 minutes)


Parallel Sessions