Migration issue: ALDA’s contribution is URGENT
Conflicts, dictatorships, poverty, hunger and lack of jobs opportunities are increasing the numbers of migrants fleeing their countries and trying to reach the European Union.
Due to the growing dimensions of the phenomena, and the dramatic humanitarian crisis it arose, ALDA and its members are in the frontline to promote effective practices in the management of the migration phenomenon in line with the key principles at the basis of the European project.
To meet the objectives of our migration programme, such as promoting tolerance, integration and dialogue, fight against any kind of discrimination and social exclusion, providing migrants with opportunities, tools and useful competences to help them integrate in a new social and economic context, ALDA launched the new project URGENT – Urban Regeneration: European Network of Towns. The project, co-funded by the programme Europe for Citizens, brings together local authorities and civil society organisations from 10 different countries in wider Europe to exchange knowledge and good practice and act at the local level to tackle the growing fear of immigration.
URGENT represents ALDA’s further initiative in the field of migration. Within the framework of the project WELCOME, ALDA organised in Skopje, on the occasion of the Refugee Day, the international seminar “Cooperation on the governance of migration in Western Balkans and Central European countries”. The seminar brought together representatives of municipalities, local associations, CSOs, and other relevant stakeholders coming from central and south east Europe to share good practices in managing the migration phenomenon at the local level.
Back in May 2016, in cooperation with the Municipality of Lampedusa and Science Po Paris, ALDA launched the initiative “The Gates of Europe: Global migrants and local development”. The event took place in Lampedusa, symbol of the migration flows in Europe in the last decade. The activity had the objective of identifying feasible solutions for all local communities affected by global challenges such as migration. Participants exchanged on what local communities can do for Europe and what Europe can do for local communities affected by the migration emergency.
In addition, in the framework of the Civil Dialogue meeting in Barcelona on 1st June, ALDA, European Movement International (EMI) and Social Platform issued a joint statement on migration policies calling for a “A European migration policy beyond the humanitarian aid perspective” to foster long term policies capable to generate full integration so as to maximize the benefits, both for host communities and the migrants themselves, keeping in mind that integration is a two-way process.
Another perspective needs to be analysed though. In today’s Europe we are reaching alarming levels of urban fragmentation, inequality and structural socio-spatial divisions within our cities, feeding extremism and radicalisation. Most vulnerable people are often bound to concentrate in disadvantaged areas where social exclusion and deprivation usually overlap with multi-ethnicity, which further challenges social cohesion. Increasingly marginalized and stigmatised, these areas and their inhabitants are pushed into a vicious circle of poverty. In this context, and through a bottom-up approach to raise local awareness on the urgent need to establish new connections among inhabitants of marginalized neighbourhoods and those of central areas, the newly launched URGENT project will create spaces of discussion and mutual learning among citizens from different socio-cultural backgrounds, tackling the fear of immigration.