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activity(888) --> Promotion of resettlement in the European Union through practical cooperation by EU Member States and other stakeholders
BRUSSELS, 10 June 2011 - On Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th of June the final conference of the project "Promotion of Resettlement in the European Union through Practical Cooperation by EU Member States and Other Stakeholders" took place in Brussels. The event marked the conclusion of an 18-month project carried out by the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Catholic Migration Commission with funding from the European Commission's European Refugee Fund that has generated a wealth of information on resettlement practices in Europe.
It has also significantly strengthened networking amongst resettlement professionals and stakeholders from across the full spectrum of the refugee resettlement process. It was attended by over 80 representatives of EU Member States, civil society resettlement actors, the European Commission, UNHCR and IOM.
During the project a number of different practical cooperation activities involving 10 EU Member States, civil society organizations, UNHCR and IOM have been implemented. These activities were presented at the final conference, after which the participants discussed possible future cooperation. The activities included the following:
- A successful pilot on resettlement interviews via video link was undertaken by the Dutch government at the Emergency Transit Centre in Timisoara, Romania, and was observed by Hungarian government officials.
- Representatives of governments and NGOs from Belgium, France, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Romania, participated in study visits to the UK and Sweden to learn more about their programmes on the reception and integration of resettled refugees.
- Furthermore, ICMC organized a training for local resettlement providers in reception and integration in Sintra, Portugal in June 2010. Over 45 participants and facilitators from 13 European countries and from Canada gathered for three days of knowledge-sharing and exchange of practices around the reception and integration of resettled refugees.
- ICMC and UNHCR set up national multi-stakeholder meetings in most of the participating countries to promote and improve the coordination between all actors that are involved in the pre- and post-arrival phases of resettlement. Over the past months such meetings have been organized in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK.
- One of the tangible outcomes of the project is the publication of a handbook, launched at the final conference and compiled by ICMC, entitled, "Paving the Way: A Handbook on the Reception and Integration of Resettled Refugees" which provides practical ideas and inspiration for facilitating integration once refugees have arrived in their country of resettlement. In addition to that, "Paving the Way" also presents a number of key recommendations. These range from increasing support for resettlement and expanding the number of resettlement places, to building policies for integration and social cohesion, improving stakeholder planning and cooperation, ensuring that strategic decisions on refugee placement within local communities is based on an understanding of each refugee's needs, and putting in place essential services and support mechanisms prior to embarking on a resettlement programme. Copies of the publication can be downloaded by visiting: www.icmc.net/pubs/paving-the-way.
The European Commission has recently announced that it will continue its commitment to the initiative by providing funding support for a follow-up project, which will bolster the expertise of European practitioners at all stages of the resettlement and integration process through mutual exchange, and seek to include more Member States. This project named "Linking in EU Resettlement" will begin in September 2011 and run until the end of 2012. The focus of this project will be mainly on the reception and integration of refugees at the local level. A key question will be: How can municipalities and the host communities be more involved in resettlement? The project will support the development of networks of towns and cities that host resettled refugees and help them make resettlement a successful solution for many more refugees in the European Union.
For more information please contact:
Jo de Backer
Tel: +32 2 287 74 14
Tel: +32 2 227 97 29
Johannes van Gemund
Tel: +32 2 627 5981