Integrating refugees and migrants in cities

UNESCO and the foundation of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, in partnership with the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), will host a roundtable on "Welcoming cities for refugees: promoting inclusion and protecting rights", at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 9 May 2016 (Room IV, 9.30 am – noon).

The roundtable is part of a partnership to empower municipal and local authorities to promote the integration of refugees and migrants. It responds to the dramatic increase in 2015 of the number of refugees arriving in Europe, and the significant additional challenges this represents for local governments.

With this partnership, UNESCO, the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation and ECCAR aim to promote a better understanding of the role of cities in facilitating reception and inclusion of refugees and migrants, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations late last year.

Goal11 calls on Member States to "make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable", and will feature prominently among the priorities of the New Urban Agenda to be adopted by Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016.

The roundtable will present and debate the preliminary key findings of a study, conducted by Patrick Taran, President of Global Migration Policy Associates. The study, the deliberations at the roundtable, and the analysis of a survey among ECCAR member cities, will set the stage for an expert meeting in Athens in November 2016.

The roundtable will be opened by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and Benedetto Zacchiroli, President of ECCAR. It will start with a presentation of Patrick Taran’s study, and be followed by a discussion with panelists: Susanne Asche, Head of Cultural Affairs Department, City of Karlsruhe (Germany), Parvati Nair, Director of the United Nations University’s Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility, and Ralf Gruenert, Representative of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees in France.

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Media accreditation: Laetitia Kaci, l.kaci(at)unesco.org