Following on the invitation by the City of Cologne, a delegation from UCLG visited the Diversity and Integration Department of Cologne to explore its initiatives in the field of migration. Having overcome the peak of the refugees’ crisis that started in 2015, the city has enforced a shift on its local strategy towards social inclusion through the creation of a coordinating body that ensures the functioning and coherence among former programs and activities addressed to vulnerable groups.
In this new phase, migration is approached from a comprehensive point of view aiming at ensuring the right of newcomers to get access to services, to work, to a shelter and to vote.
The Diversity and Integration Department monitors the actions led by and within the municipality regarding the protection of rights for everybody. Among its fields of action, it supports vulnerable populations such as disabled citizens, LGBTI communities and migrants. In this regard, the city is working on an Integration Monitoring System with a view to assess the performance of such measures. In this endeavour, coordination with civil society is seen as a key axis of its action strategy. Migrant youths, access to employment and to land, civil engagement, anti-xenophobia or spatial segregation are some of the issues targeted by the Department.
This visit is framed in the second phase of the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration (MC2CM) project (2018-2021). Led by the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in partnership with UCLG and UN-Habitat, and funded by the European Commission and by the Swiss Cooperation, this project aims at tackling the urban governance of migration from a rights-based approach in the Mediterranean. Currently formed by 14 cities from eight Mediterranean countries, MC2CM aims at enlarging its network to 20 full members.
As a forerunner in the urban governance of migration, the effort and resources that Cologne is deploying to ensure the Right to the City for all is a leading source of best practices and an inspiring model both for UCLG membership and for its policy making process on migration. Parallel to this joint activity, UCLG is also strengthening ties with other Mediterranean cities like Napoli and with regional entities like the Andalusian Municipalities Fund for International Solidarity (FAMSI) in Spain.