Turkish Municipalities’ Options Towards Integration of Refugees and Social Cohesion
Istanbul, November 8-10, 2018: Qudra Programme, the international community of practice for sustainable urban development Connective Cities and UCLG-MEWA brought together over 50 urban practitioners from Turkey and Germany in the Urban Practitioners’ Workshop. Our topic was: “Municipalities’ Options towards Integration of Refugees and Social Cohesion”. The bilingual event took place within the framework of the “Refugee Friendly municipalities” implemented by the Qudra Programme and the “Municipal know-how for host communities in the Middle-East” Programme, implemented jointly by Connective Cities and the “Service Agency Communities in One World of Engagement Global (SKEW)”.
Challenges of Refugee Hosts Become Manageable When Shared
Since 2011, millions of refugees, who escaped from the ongoing war in Syria, are hosted in the neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The large refugee population has created significant challenges for local municipalities of the host countries.
Turkey, by hosting over 3.5 million Syrian refugees, became a leading country by virtue of responding to the Syrian humanitarian crisis in a respectable manner. To share this burden, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been developing a number of projects with the aim to support Turkey and other host countries regarding know-how exchange and transfer of expertise. The workshop in Istanbul provided a valuable platform for exchange, support and mutual learning opportunities between Turkish and German participants.
Joint Projects Lead to Impact on Infrastructure and Social Life
Turkish and German municipalities created new project ideas by involving good practice examples, peer-to-peer discussions and action-planning applications in the context of migration and social cohesion. The focus hereby remained on the local level. Results include temporary protection, migration management, vocational education, new language skills and social integration policies. Such approaches promise refugees a better access to job markets and local decision-making mechanisms. The two goals of these projects in partnership are: 1) increasing social interaction with local communities, and 2) strengthening the quality of life for everyone long-term in the hosting municipalities.
Project ideas developed between a German and a Turkish municipality in the workshop created an opportunity to be future joint bi-lateral municipal projects. In the upcoming events, those projects can potentially receive advice and funding for implementation through the Middle East Initiative.
Involvement and Role of IMAP
IMAP, as consulting partner of the Programme “Municipal know-how for host communities in the Middle East” will continue to support future collaboration between Turkish and German municipalities. Our focus lies on change and culture. Since 2002, our consulting team has successfully led more than 500 transformation processes in the private and public sectors. Our team of systemic consultants brings a wide spectrum of expertise and vast amounts of energy into every project we are entrusted with. Our cultural and linguistic backgrounds are as diverse as our educational ones. Therefore, international cooperation is one of our fields of expertise.