Promoting citizens engagement as a tool to strengthen local democracy, participatory processes and decentralised cooperation in Europe and Worldwide
Migration and mobility are some of the most enduring phenomena in all of human history. Every society in the world has been affected by them, however, the ways in which they occur and their mechanisms are constantly evolving.
Examining their variations in scale, direction, demographics and frequency present difficult but necessary tasks in understanding how migration is evolving and how to inform and implement effective policies, programmes and operational responses to address this multi-faceted issue at multiple levels, from local to international. Migration is therefore a complex phenomenon that today, according to UN estimates, affects some 281 million people.
Moreover, this phenomenon does not exist in a vacuum but is deeply interconnected with other issues such as climate change, war, and the status of human rights in many countries. These elements can act as drivers of migration whose impact can be further exacerbated by misinformation and its politicisation.
It is therefore evident that migration is one of the most relevant issues of our time. ALDA recognises its relevance and this has led to the desire to create a specific thematic hub that can focus information and projects on migration in an agile manner and through a holistic approach. ALDA’s work on migration and the attention given to the issue are reflected in the international arena.
The UN, in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, recognises that “migration is a multi-dimensional reality that cannot be addressed by one government policy sector alone”. For this very reason, migration has been identified as a powerful driver of sustainable development and as transversal to the 17 SDGs presented in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Looking at the European continent, the EU, through the European Asylum System (CEAS) and the five legislative instruments that govern it, namely the Asylum Procedures Directive, the Reception Conditions Directive, the Qualification Directive, the Dublin Regulation and the EURODAC Regulation, seeks to manage asylum processes and regulate migration. However, these processes are still subject to different forms of implementation and reception standards determined by the considerable flexibility member states enjoy.
For these reasons, The New Pact on Migration and Asylum (2020), and the Action Plan on integration and inclusion for 2021-2024 highlight the need for policymaking and integrative actions in specific fields: reconsidering the diversity of migrant groups by extending the target group to “migrants and citizens with immigrant backgrounds“, and by expressing their strong added value to local societies; identifying 4 fields of intervention for integration policies (education, housing, services and employment); acknowledging the diversity of the localities.
In line with the cited sources, the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration and Asylum in Europe (2021-2025) and the recent report on Migration and Asylum from the European Commission COM (2022) 740, ALDA calls for actions guaranteeing adequate humanitarian aid, psychological and counseling support in the host communities along the EU external borderline.
ALDA recognises that only coordinated action between governmental institutions civil society organisations and local authorities can guarantee migrants the integration and respect of their rights they deserve. Through the creation of the thematic hub on migration, ALDA aims to take these battles forward as already demonstrated by the previous 8 implemented projects whose aim was to contribute with actions and activities aiming at supporting the inclusion and integration of migrants in the hosting communities as well as providing policy recommendations to EU institutions based on feedback from the local level.
Through projects such as SHAPE, EPIC and PERCEPTIONS, ALDA went directly to work on the creation of local networks for the support of migrants, the dissemination of knowledge and practices necessary for integration processes, the involvement of people with a migratory background in democratic processes and in the creation of integration policies on several levels, and on the issue of migrants’ and returnees’ perceptions of Europe and the EU and how these can be misled by misinformation.
These initiatives are just the tip of the iceberg about the work that ALDA has done and continues to do on the issue of migration. The creation of the Migration Hub is therefore a necessary and positive development to give ALDA the ability to make its work on migration even more capable of generate change and have an impact on policies operating at multiple levels and, therefore, on migrants’ life and the enjoyment of their rights by giving priorities to the following issues:
- continuing and expanding the implemented projects on migration so as to generate a positive change and produce tangible results, knowledge and good practices that can be shared and used.
- continue our ongoing efforts to create a strong coalition of local and regional governments and CSOs engaging with national governments and EU institutions;
- networking and policy harmonization to foster dialogue among key stakeholders at local and EU level favoring the emergence of joint policies;
- ALDA will work on specific trainings for capacity building of local authorities to strengthen their ability in responding to the needs linked to migrant inclusion.