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The role of local authorities in public policies for the social inclusion of migrants

"Social cohesion and intercultural and inter-religious dialogue: The role of local authorities in public policies for the social inclusion of migrants" highlights the content and exchanges of the first peer learning meeting of the “Mediterranean City-to-City Migration” project (MC2CM), on the role of municipal administrations regarding the social inclusion of migrants. This meeting was hosted by the city of Lisbon on 12 and 13 July 2016 and it was attended by representatives from Amman, Lyon, Madrid, Tangier, Tunis, Turin and Vienna, as well as the Catalan Development Cooperation Fund.

Content and facilitation were coordinated by the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights. In particular, the Committee drew up the thematic reference document that served as a basis for the debate on concepts of social cohesion and intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and the role of local authorities within this framework.

In exploring the outcomes of Lisbon exchanges, the document focuses on identifying myths and realities regarding migration or the obstacles that administrations find in implementing social cohesion policies, as well as sharing concrete projects and recommendations focused on improving the social inclusion of migrants at the local level. 

Furthermore, the Human-Rights-Based approach is presented in the guide as a way to place people at the center of public policies, strengthening migrants participation in terms of local democracy.

The review also highlights specific experiences coming from cities that could inspire other local governments in designing their own social inclusion policies regarding migrant populations. Among others, that is the case of the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities of the city of Vienna, a tool at the service of inclusion and the fight against discriminations; Madrid’s Service on Interculturality and togetherness in neighbourhoods; Lyon’s Agency for Tranquillity and  Mediation; or the School of Conviviality, a pilot plan which has been implemented in Casablanca to deconstruct prejudices through education. The city of Lisbon, who hosted the session, also shared various practices carried out by the municipality such as the Casa dos Direitos Sociais (House of Social Rights), in the neighbourhood of Marvila, or the Espaço Jovem LX (Youth space LX), in Armador.