Last 8 February, I had the pleasure to speak on behalf of the MC2CM project to present our findings and recommendations at the very interesting webinar “GCM Objective 16: Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion” organized by Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants (CCRM), the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT), the International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and Metropolis Asia – Pacific.
The panel also included Sharmarke Dubow, Councillor of the City of Victoria (Canada) and Dr Kennedy Achakoma, Labour Economist at the African Trade Union Migration Network (Ghana) and was moderated by Paddy Siyanga Knudsen, Vice President at GRFDT, and saw the participation of over 150 people from all over the world.
You may see a full recording of the session here below.
The Commitment text for GCM 16 from the compact reads: “We commit to foster inclusive and cohesive societies by empowering migrants to become active members of society and promoting the reciprocal engagement of receiving communities and migrants in the exercise of their rights and obligations towards each other, including observance of national laws and respect for customs of the country of destination. We further commit to strengthen the welfare of all members of societies by minimizing disparities, avoiding polarization and increasing public confidence in policies and institutions related to migration, in line with the acknowledgement that fully integrated migrants are better positioned to contribute to prosperity. ”
Social cohesion is based on the ability of individuals of a society to intermingle with others and provide the society with benefits. From a local government perspective, ensuring social cohesion may involve elements like providing basic access to services and rights. European institutions have always advocated for integration and inclusion, as they are a sustainable solution to guarantee the long term well-being of societies, on a social and economic level.
In particular, the European Commission’s Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027 states that if we aim to have thriving societies, we should look at integration as being both a “right and a duty for all”. Along these lines, this concept has been advocated for fervently within MC2CM activities and publications.
The MC2CM project has promoted the concept of local inclusive citizenship, which “contributes to tackling inequalities at the local level, rendering public services accessible for everyone regardless of their legal status” and eventually ensuring social cohesion and inclusion, as cities are the primary instance where public and collective realities unfold. It held a virtual peer-learning-event held in Grenoble in March 2021 on the topic.
The notion of local citizenship grants rights on the basis of residency, rather than legal status, while bridging administrative status gaps and ensuring social cohesion and inclusion.
The MC2CM policy recommendations highlight the importance of supporting migrants’ inclusion in the city through the provision of welcome instruments, access to basic services, access to labour market, access to political participation, as well as guaranteeing adequate urban planning and proper housing.
RELATED MC2CM ACTIONS
MC2CM has concretely translated the concept of inclusion of social cohesion through many actions on the ground. Namely, through its actions in Moroccan cities (Tetouan, Larache, Alcazar-Quivir), where it strived to build cities through social cohesion, through training educators and agents on the different approaches of migrants’ social inclusion. It also developed a neighbourhood intervention plan to tackle vulnerabilities.
In Sfax, Tunisia, it aimed to establish coordination mechanisms between local authorities and civil society to strengthen capacities and improve access to basic rights.
In Zarqa, Jordan, it strived to improve a safe and inclusive access to the public space to pave the way for cultural exchange, tolerance and dialogue between local community and Syrian refugees.
RELATED MC2CM PUBLICATIONS
In relation to the above, we recommend the following publications and content:
- Social cohesion and intercultural and inter-religious dialogue: The role of local authorities in public policies for the social inclusion of migrants
- Inclusive local citizenship: fostering the right of the city for all: A thematic learning report
- Cultural Policies: a vector for migrants’ inclusion in urban context