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Project News: MC2CM discusses refugee integration at peer-to-peer meeting in Vienna
From 14-15 February, the EU and SDC-funded Mediterranean City-to-City Migration project (MC2CM) gathered over 40 representatives from local governments and experts from ICMPD, UCLG, UN-Habitat and UNHCR in Vienna.
With 60% of refugees living in urban areas, this event provided a much welcomed platform for local authorities to exchange learnings and strategies on hosting asylum seekers and refugees. It was organised in the framework of the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration project (MC2CM) funded by the European Commission and Swiss Development and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The meeting was hosted by the city of Vienna that has seen about 300,000 refugees transiting since September 2015, including 650,000 overnight stays in the 4-month period between September 2015 and January 2016.
Jürgen Czernohorszky, Executive City Councillor for Education, Integration, Youth and Personnel highlighted the city’s duty to provide a safe place for refugees. Hosting about 21,000 asylum seekers at present, representatives of the city of Vienna presented the approach of ‘integration from day one’ for refugees. The participants had the opportunity to visit the “Youth College”, an initiative implemented by the City of Vienna in cooperation with local stakeholders. Kicked-off in September 2016, the college aims to provide young asylum seekers between 15 and 21 years education and vocational training.
Other city representatives from Amman, Beirut, Lisbon, Lyon, Tangier, Tunis and Turin, shared their experiences of receiving refugees, while experts from UNCHR and the Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) presented learnings from different interrelated initiatives implemented across the Mediterranean region. They also discussed and provided recommendations on the imperative role of communications on addressing refugee issues on a local level.
This meeting is one in seven, that will be held in the framework of MC2CM. The next peer-to-peer meeting will focus on social housing and urban planning for migrants and will be held in Amman on 25-26 April.
More information on MC2CM here.