As migration has become a major issue of debate within Europe, with divergent policies across states and dedicated efforts by local governments to accommodate those who arrive, cities come to the fore as key actors in the reception, relocation, and inclusion of refugees and migrants. Across Europe, political arguments and differences have arisen over migration. In such a context, transformative and cooperative models of welcome for new arrivals and people in transit become ever more important.
To address these themes, the conference Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit, took place at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona from July 14-15, 2016. The conference was organised by the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM), openDemocracy, and the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. Throughout the conference, speakers and attendees considered the ways in which the arrival and transit of refugees is currently shaping urban environments across Europe — generating various forms of solidarity and welcome, as well as tension and violence.
Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit brought together academics, practitioners, policymakers and activists to debate these highly topical issues that encompass a number of legal and policy parameters that had as yet not been fully analysed. Conference participants exchanged insights, extended networks and produced recommendations for the safe and orderly governance of migration in ways that foreground human dignity. This report will outline the discussions and recommendations.