IncluCities Steering Committee October 2021

Achievements and the way forward 

The third IncluCities Steering Committee meeting on 20 October 2021 gathered partners partially in person in Brussels and partially connected online. The objective of the meeting was to check the state of play of the project, present achievements accomplished, discuss future plans, identify the potential risks in implementation and talk about the mitigation strategies.

It was a moment of priceless exchange for all, and an essential tool for the Consortium to collectively decide about the next steps to take. 


Migration and integration among crucial topics for local and regional governments

In his welcoming speech, CEMR Secretary General, Frédéric Vallier highlighted the importance of the work of cities and regions on integration and migration, both at the local and at the EU level. He pointed out the fact that migrant integration always happens at the local level. The cities and municipalities are on the frontline when it comes to reception, ensuring access to basic services such as housing and health care, offering language courses and a lot of other activities that require mobilisation of many people from the local community. Often cities are left behind by their governments in this process. We all are aware of the pressure put on the local level during the past years (in particular Greece, Spain, Italy and many other countries in the Mediterranean) that are still in a difficult situation.

For this reason, the EU agreement on migration should be found, to define a common policy on the reception of migrants and refugees. Mr Vallier stressed the importance of solidarity, in the first place solidarity with people who are caught in this situation. He reminded that migration will be influenced in the future years also by climate change and population growth. And also, when speaking about solidarity, we shouldn’t forget about the solidarity between European countries. This is a matter related to the Member States and the EU. However, we, as the cities on the front lines, have to handle the situation. With IncluCities we want to showcase how cities can learn from each other to improve the way they manage migration on the ground. This has to be used in order to support local governments in their work.

Mr Vallier also informed IncluCities partners that in parallel with the project, the task force on migration is working on the common CEMR position on this topic. 

Challenges and achievements

One of the main challenges for IncluCities project has been the Covid pandemic and the restrictions followed by adjustments of the project activities. As a consequence, because of travel restrictions all activities have been moved online, partners couldn’t meet, visit the cities and implement planned mentoring activities. This applies to budget issues and differences in partners’ engagement. Nevertheless, there were achievements we all should be proud of:

  • 1st round of study visits (online) completed by May 2021
  • Participation to the global campaign «Refugee Week 2021» in June
  • 1 video introducing the IncluCities project and three promotional video clips
  • 1 mid term report submitted
  • 3 interim financial reports
  • 4 videos submitted as official deliverables (Oct 2021)
  • 2nd round of study visits (in presence) completed by November 2021

Update on IncluCities communication

IncluCities is opearting on the local level with help of various platforms that Partner associations and cities are using to spread the messages and news about IncluCities. On the EU level, we use three main general IncluCities communication channels: Twitter, Facebook page and the website

In the period of the first year, the IncluCities Twitter account has published (or republished) over 900 tweets, gained over 400 000 impressions and has by today almost 700 followers. We doubled the profile visits from 500 in the first months to over 6.000 per month (in June 2021). The Facebook audience is growing as well and our live FB events in the framework of the Refugee week(June 2021) reached up to 2.800 people. This shows that events that showcase good practices and feature interesting speakers lead to better outreach to a wider audience and can boost IncluCities visibility.

On the IncluCities website (launched in Dec 2020) we published over 40 articles, 3 longer interviews with mayors of participating cities and several short video clips presenting the project and best practices. We organised events during Refugee Week and participated in a good deal of other integration/migration-related events and conferences. Counting the dissemination and communication efforts from the IncluCities partners, the dissemination efforts sum up into additional 40 published articles and press releases in 6 different languages, that reached out to a wide and diverse audience across our partner countries.


Campaign in the light of International Migrants Day (18 Dec), by highlighting the work of IncluCities

  • In November and December, we will focus on promotion of IncluCities video deliverables, four short stories presenting our mentoring pairs.
  • The next in the series of IncluCities interviews will be the interview with the CEMR spokesperson on migration and mayor of Capaci  Mr Pietro Puccio, and we will boost promotion in the week before the International migrants day across all CEMR and IncluCities platforms. 
  • Furthermore, we are organising an online event ahead of the International Migrants Day (Facebook live). Discussion will follow the question: How to improve the way we frame migration in order to change people’s attitudes, perceptions and actions on migration? In  the context of the #ItTakesACommunity campaign, this will be a joint event with the Mayors Mechanism, and we will explore best practices from the cities, showcase how local and national governments need to work together and what some projects are doing in order to better understand the narrative around migration. Save the date - 14 December.

An important part in the communications update were also the first face-to-face Study visits. A study visit can be a wonderful opportunity to reach out to a wider local/regional audience. By inviting local media to learn more about the project and report about what the city is doing. As an example, Carla Rey from AICCRE explained what kind of communication strategy they put in place in Capaci.

They established a sort of collaboration partnership with the local TV. They recorded the study visit with their cameramen and then offered the recording to the local television. This was useful as they reached out to a wider audience. As first, they did research on which communication tools are used at the local level. As a follow-up they created a Facebook page IncluCities Italia to share the work of the project in Italian and English.

Cities and EU Action plan on inclusion and integration

As a guest speaker, Angelique Petrits (Legal pathways and integration DG Migration and Home affairs EC) presented the EU Action plan on inclusion and integration, with a special focus on local level needs. Find her presentation here.

"Cities and Regions are at the heart of the Action Plan of Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027. A multi-stakeholder approach is key for the successful implementation of the Action Plan”

IncluCities Steering Committee III 20 October 2021 5

What comes next for the IncluCities?

  • Transfer knowledge workshops: they are a moment to present the state of the play of the mentee cities Action Plans to others and to get feedbacks from other mentoring pairs.
  • Training academies: are a moment to present the work done by each mentoring pair to external stakeholders.
  • One-stop shops for mentors and action plans for mentees will be the main results of the project, alongside the series of toolkits and infographics. All these will hopefully offer hands-on information and advice for other cities and associations that they could use when implementing change on integration in their local contexts.
  • The final conference seems to be far away, but since year 2022 is just around the corner, we will focus a bit more on this at our next steering committee meeting.
  • Extension of the project

The idea to extend the project for another three months is not new, but has been now proposed and will be discussed with partners in order to meet the decision as son as possible. In case we extend the project, the final conference would be in March 2023 instead of December 2022.