Launching a EU Resettlement Network at Skills Share Day
BRUSSELS, 14 May 2012—On 14-15 May in Brussels, ICMC Europe and its partners the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) staged the first ever EU Resettlement Skills Share Day.
Facilitated in the framework of the joint project “Linking in EU Resettlement”, the EU Resettlement Skills Share Day brought together approximately 200 participants from 26 countries - including EU officials , governments, NGOs, local authorities , resettled refugees and the media to share learning, exchange best practice and build resettlement knowledge and capacity across Europe.
The Skills Share Day marked a key moment in the development of an EU Resettlement Network. Promoted by UNHCR, IOM and ICMC. The network is designed to become a principal actor and stimulator of a substantial EU resettlement programme, whilst offering high quality reception and integration services for resettled refugees.
The network launched two tools at the Skills Share Day - a new website at www.resettlement.eu, and the Europe-wide ‘Resettlement Saves Lives – the 2020 Campaign’. The 2020 Campaign builds on the success of the ‘Save Me’ Campaign in Germany, with the objective of increasing the number of resettlement places offered annually by the European Union, from the current 5,500 to 20 000 places each year by 2020.
Responding to a European Parliament initiative, the Skills Share Day also saw ICMC celebrate the start of a new programme ‘Cities that Care, Cities that SHARE – the SHARE project’, an 18-month programme to build a European resettlement network of regions, cities and municipalities . With the lead SHARE partners the city of Sheffield, Eurocities, UNHCR , Pro-Asyl and others, ICMC Europe also launched a new publication to promote the involvement of new cities and regions in resettlement in Europe ‘Welcome to Sheffield - Reflections on 8 years experience of receiving resettled refugees at the local level’.
At the resettlement marketplace, the central feature of the Skills Share Day, around 30 successful practices in resettlement were displayed, ranging from pre-departure cultural orientation, to reception and integration practices, including campaigns to engage volunteers. Participants were invited to enter a UNHCR tent to undergo a mock resettlement interview and see if their protection needs would make them eligible for resettlement.
An evening film event saw directors and producers of major films about resettlement - ‘Moving to Mars’, ‘Refugees: Who Needs Them?’ and ‘A Life on Hold: the Story of a Resettled Refugee’ - introduce their films through a series of excerpts and, together with the Burmese and Ethiopian refugees who appeared in the films, participate in a panel discussion on the role of film in resettlement advocacy and awareness-raising.
The Skills Share Day was closed by European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström and European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
Panel and workshop presentations and other materials from the Skills Share Day will shortly be made available for download – please check www.resettlement.eu for further updates.
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Photo credit: Willemjan Vandenplas