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Project News: International Forum to improve collaboration between the youth and integration policy fields

13 December 2019

On 11 December 2019, stakeholders from the youth work and integration fields met in Vienna to exchange good practices in the field of cross-sectoral cooperation. ICMPD hosted an international forum with participants from Austria, Belgium, Germany and Sweden to improve relations between the two sectors.

Youth work and integration work are both complex areas with a large number of stakeholders. As cross-cutting issues, they both affect many different policy areas and are in turn influenced by them. Furthermore, federal political systems add to the complexity of the matter.

To promote the integration of young migrants and refugees into society and to use optimally existing resources, a coordinated approach of all integration related measures is required. It is necessary to involve all relevant services and institutions as well as refugee and migrant self-organisations, government authorities and civil society in the process and to cooperate with the youth work sector right from the beginning of the individual’s arrival.

ICMPD in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery – Division Families and Youth – and with the support of the European Commission (Structural Reform Support Service) hosted an international forum on 11 December 2019 to allow Austrian and European stakeholders to learn from international projects and programmes how cooperation in the fields of youth work and integration is successfully implemented. The event also aimed to inspire participants to liaise, network and develop new cooperation projects in the context of youth work and integration of young refugees and migrants.

The morning session of the forum included a keynote speech followed by a panel discussion on how to strengthen cross-sectoral co-operation between the youth work and integration sectors.

In the afternoon, guests from Belgium, Germany and Sweden presented their cross-sectoral projects and participants had the time to exchange experiences in small working groups. The focus was on translating lessons learned from the international projects to the Austrian context. Participants were able to develop own strategies for creating partnership initiatives with other actors working in the fields of youth work and integration, including related stakeholders from the education sector, labour market and uniform carriers.

The international forum was part of the ongoing EU-funded project "Youth work in the context of integration". Previous activities included two national events, study trips to Sweden, Belgium and Germany for representatives from the Austrian youth work and integration sector, the establishment of a Board of Experts comprising important Austrian stakeholders from both fields, regional networking meetings and two reports analysing the situation.