• New city grantees announced today include Casablanca (Morocco), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), eThekwini (South Africa), Hargeisa (Somaliland), Nairobi (Kenya), and Nyamagabe (Rwanda)
  • The announcement was made at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
  • With a new funding commitment of $1.2 million, the IKEA Foundation expands the effort launched by the Mayors Migration Council and C40 Cities in partnership with Robert Bosch Stiftung

Today, on the sidelines of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees (GCF) announced a new commitment from the IKEA Foundation of $1.2 million to provide direct financial and technical support to six African cities addressing the needs of migrants and displaced people affected by the climate crisis.

The World Bank estimates that the climate breakdown could push 86 million Africans to migrate within their own countries by 2050, all within one of the world’s fastest urbanising regions. Despite greenhouse gas emissions across the continent representing less than 4 percent of the world’s total, African cities are working to address the current and future impacts of climate hazards — whether that’s investing in urban adaptation to reduce displacement, safely relocating residents who have no other choice but to move or increasing access to urban infrastructure, services and green jobs for climate migrants.

The GCF was launched in 2021 by the Mayors Migration Council with investments from the Open Society Foundations, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, in partnership with C40 Cities, the UN Human Settlements Programme, the UN Migration Agency, the UN Refugee Agency, and United Cities and Local Governments, which provide technical support to city grantees.

With the contribution of the IKEA Foundation, the GCF will expand direct support to the following cities:

  • Casablanca, Morocco,will establish its first Souk of African Solidarity, providing a space for migrants and asylum seekers impacted by the climate crisis to start green businesses in the heart of the city.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,will connect migrants and refugees to entrepreneurship and employment opportunities across the city’s waste management system.

  • EThekwini (Durban), South Africa, will employ migrants and displaced people in the city’s recycling program and establish an online CARE portal to link service providers with people who need to access critical services both before and after climate disasters.
  • Hargeisa, Somaliland,will work hand-in-hand with internally displaced families living in flood-prone areas to relocate them to safer areas of the city and provide them with land ownership.
  • Nairobi, Kenya,will provide migrant, refugee, and receiving communities with green jobs and partner with them to make the city’s waterways and public spaces greener and safer for everyone.
  • Nyamagabe District, Rwanda, will convert waste from a local refugee camp into renewable energy for the area at large, reducing deforestation, creating green jobs, and building social cohesion in the process.

Today’s city grantees join Accra (Ghana), Arua (Uganda), Beira (Mozambique), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Monrovia (Liberia) in a growing pipeline of 21 city-led projects that will improve the lives of thousands of people around the world, bringing the initiative closer to its goal of funding 22 cities by the end of 2022.

The GCF is expanding at a critical juncture in the global response to the climate crisis. During COP27, mayors worldwide are advocating for national governments to increase climate adaptation finance to 50% of total climate finance, following the lead of UN Secretary General António Guterres, and to make sure that these resources are directed to cities especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director of the Mayors Migration Council said: “While world leaders are at COP27 speaking about climate migration, mayors are building evidence of what to actually do about it. We call on more donors to join the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees to keep making a tangible difference in the lives of people affected by the climate crisis, while keeping the world on track to meet global commitments.”

Nairobi Governor Arthur Johnson Sakaja said: “As one of the economic capitals of Africa, the climate crisis has brought new challenges to the residents of Nairobi, especially our most vulnerable residents, including migrant and displaced communities. But our government is stepping up, backed by the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, to improve the livelihoods of our residents through inclusive access to business development and civic activism opportunities that will create green jobs, clean our waterways and give all the opportunity to enjoy Nairobi’s economic growth.”

Cllr. Mxolisi Kaunda, Mayor of EThekwini (Durban), said: “Recent floods in EThekwini have highlighted the need to provide for our migrant and refugee residents who remain undocumented and out of our reach. It is an issue that drives homelessness and erodes these communities’ connection to basic services like health care and emergency response. Financial resources from the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees will be critical to launching our CARE self-registration platform, which will give identification to EThekwini’s most vulnerable, help our city better understand the needs of our displaced populations, and ensure essential public services are readily accessible by all, especially in the aftermath of future climate shocks.”

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation said: “The IKEA Foundation recognises the importance of funding cities directly so that they can address the mounting hazards faced by urban migrants and refugees as a result of climate change. We are excited to contribute to the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees to ensure cities most impacted by climate disasters can build resilience, opportunity and social cohesion for all.”

Ottilie Bälz, Senior Vice President, Robert Bosch Stiftung said: “The Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees has proven that when the international community invests in cities, people are put at the center of climate adaptation initiatives to ensure a just and inclusive green transition. We welcome the IKEA Foundation to our growing movement.”

Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities said: “Thanks to the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, African cities are now leading the way in delivering inclusive climate action for and in partnership with migrants and refugees. At C40, we are proud to be part of this initiative, which will help cities welcome and support people displaced by climate impactsand we will keep working with our Mayors Migration Council’s partners to make sure that more climate finance is made directly accessible to cities, especially in the Global South.”

Read the full announcement.