ICMC launches EU-Turkey civil society network to promote the protection and integration of Syrian refugees in Turkey

Brussels, 20 April 2016 - In collaboration with its partner organization Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF), ICMC Europe launched a new program aimed at strengthening the protection and integration of Syrian refugees in Turkey, while also facilitating the creation of a civil society network across Turkey and the European Union.

The first visit of the European civil society delegation to TurkeyThe European civil society delegation who met the Turkish representatives in Istanbul, on 4-6 April 2016. Photo: ICMC With this new program, titled “Refugee protection and service delivery dialogue: strengthening partnerships to respond to Syrian refugee needs”, ICMC will support the creation of volunteering opportunities – managed by local civil society organizations – for Syrian refugees who are living in Turkey under temporary protection status. Aside from encouraging the integration of refugees in the country and empowering Syrians to utilize their skills for the benefit of the refugee community, the volunteering activities will also provide an occasion for Turkish civil society actors to network, exchange best practices and build relationships with organizations implementing similar initiatives in the European Union.

A first exchange visit was organized on 4-6 April in Istanbul to officially launch the program. A European delegation, headed by ICMC Europe and including representatives of eight NGOs from different EU countries, met with 20 delegates from the Turkish civil society, the government, local authorities and UNHCR. Together, they discussed challenges and opportunities to enhance the refugees’ integration and to promote the delivery of social services. A second exchange is planned for September 2016, when a Turkish delegation will travel to a European Member State to bring forward the joint discussion.

Co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey, the program is part of the Civil Society Dialogue initiative, which aims at creating a civil society network across Turkey and the EU to foster the exchange of knowledge and experiences around topics of common concern. The program also benefits from the vast expertise developed by ICMC Europe through the SHARE Network, which strengthened partnerships between municipal authorities and civil society for a better reception and integration of refugees in Europe.