SETTING THE SCENE:
Participation & co-creation: EU policy & the SHARE Network 2020-23
Rachel Westerby, ICMC Europe
Rachel Westerby introduced the work of the SHARE Network since its establishment in March 2012. She described its model of grassroots level capacity-building, training and practice exchange for local and regional actors working on integration and inclusion, and 'top-level' advocacy to ensure the role of local and regional actors is fully recognised and supported in EU policy and funding. She described key principles developed by the SHARE Network, including:
- Territorial approaches for integration and inclusion: mainstreaming integration support for refugees and migrants across a specific territory, while retaining dedicated support for newcomers and vulnerable groups. Find out more about territorial approaches in the context of refugee resettlement in the SHARE factsheet 'Scaling Up Resettlement Across Territories'.
- Multistakeholder engagement: involving all relevant actors and stakeholders across a specific territory in designing, implementing and evaluating integration programmes and policy.
- Evidence-based policymaking: to produce more effective, inclusive and cost-efficient integration programmes and policy.
Westerby highlighted the ways in which SHARE has facilitated the participation of refugees in its past activities, including via the SHARE Resettlement Ambassador programme, and outlined plans to mainstream refugee and migrant participation across all SHARE Network activites. During 2021-23, this work will focus on piloting co-design approaches for integration with partners and stakeholders at local level, and using lessons learned to advocate for their inclusion in EU policy and funding support.
Westerby welcomed the recommendations for refugee and migrant participation included in the new EU Action Plan for Integration & Inclusion (2021-27) - read the SHARE Network's response to the plan's consultation 'Building Welcome from the Ground Up' . She concluded by urging that new EU funding programmes for 2021-27 currently being developed at national level ensure the meaningful input and involvement of refugees and migrants.