For a Humanitarian Asylum Policy in Europe

Who We Are

The International Alliance of Safe Harbours (IASH) was founded in Palermo at the From the Sea to the City (FS2C) conference in June 2021. The conference was co-hosted by Palermo and Potsdam city councils and co-organized by the From the Sea to the City civil society consortium, with whom we work closely together. As a civil-institutional tandem, we encourage other cities to join us in building stronger alliances with their local civil society and engage more actively in European migration governance. As a cross-border network, we increase the visibility of welcoming municipalities and their interests at the EU level.

We count on the ideal of a network of cooperating cities in Europe. Instead of concentrating the burden on arrival or transit municipalities, through hotspots and camps along the Mediterranean and beyond, we advocate for a fair share of responsibility among many European cities and regions. With this in mind, IASH member cities signed the Palermo Declaration at the FS2C conference in 2021. This founding document outlines our common vision for a welcoming Europe.

Mayors at the Palermo Conference June 2021

From the Sea to the City (FS2C)
Member Organizations

Alarm-Phone,, European Alternatives, Europe Must Act, Fondazione Studio Rizoma, Berlin Governance Platform, Inter Alia, INURA, Sea-Watch, Mediterranea, Open Arms, Seebrücke, Tesseræ,, Zagreb – Grad Utočište

Download the Palermo Declaration in English, French, Spanish, German, Greek, and Italian.

In November 2023, twenty-one cities and the French city network ANVITA (in representation of over 80 French municipalities) signed the Villeurbanne Déclaration. Despite the challenges for many municipalities posed by the increasing number of refugees across Europe, the signatories reinforce the positions as adopted with the Palermo Declaration. In light of the upcoming European Parliament elections in 2024, the EU is requested to welcome local insights within its policy-making processes.

Concerning the agreement on the reform of the Common European Asylum and Migration System (CEAS), the Villeurbanne Déclaration warns that any legislation that favors illegal pushbacks and closed camps at the EU’s external borders is incompatible with Europe’s humanitarian values. Instead, municipalities collaborating with civil society can offer experience and expertise in questions of reception, integration, inclusion, and participation.

Download the Villeurbanne Déclaration in English, French, and German.