“Either we enable migrants to become part of the community, or we will witness tensions and a further growth of xenophobic movements. SHARE brought together cities, towns, communities, churches and migrant associations to promote and coordinate a real response to the needs of integration. I am proud of it.”
Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for Migration and President of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)
ICMC published its report “Building a Resettlement Network of European Cities and Regions- Experiences of the SHARE Network 2012-2015”, being the culmination of 4 years of the SHARE Network learning.
Since 2012, the SHARE project has built a European resettlement network of regions, cities and their civil society partners with the objectives of 1) promoting refugee protection and resettlement and a culture of welcome and 2) improving planning and coordination for refugee reception and integration in Europe.
SHARE has expanded the EU Resettlement Network (ERN), engaging over 1,200 regional and local contacts already active in resettlement, contemplating resettlement projects or planning advocacy for resettlement in their respective countries. The project spanned Europe, engaging stakeholders in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania and the United Kingdom. SHARE has sought to develop a network of actors to share best practices in resettlement between experienced actors and actors in emerging resettlement countries or countries considering resettlement, facilitate refugee integration locally, exchange information and learning in a formalized fashion, advocate for resettlement and share creative and contextualized local resettlement solutions.
With continued loss of life in attempts to cross the Mediterranean, developing adequate channels for the orderly admission of refugees to Europe must be at the core of strategies to address asylum and migration challenges in the European Union. Resettlement is a significant tool in this respect and the SHARE project sought to promote resettlement and improve resettlement outcomes.
Resettlement allows for ahead planning and coordination leading to better reception and integration of refugees. SHARE learning suggests that all countries can develop successful resettlement programmes when properly planned and coordinated among stakeholders and that a European-wide response, involving all countries and regions and municipalities (from large cities to small villages), is essential.
The SHARE network position is that the same kind of planning and integration services as are applied in resettlement should be applied in cases of relocation or any other mechanism to distribute refugees across countries or territories.
A number of key policy recommendations emerged from the SHARE project that have the potential to improve and strengthen resettlement, relocation and refugee reception and integration in Europe which include 1) Non-discrimination among refugees of the same country in granting of status and service provision; 2) Recognizing the need to strengthen reception and integration services in those regions and municipalities receiving larger number or specific (vulnerable) profiles of refugee; 3) The need for increased attention to refugee placement decisions in a manner sensitive to refugees’ special needs and potential, particularly with respect to integration into the labor market; 4) Strengthening multi-stakeholder cooperation between regions, municipalities and civil society in providing reception, welcome and integration services; 5) Including regional and local actors in financial decision-making (AMIF) and programming; 6) Promoting grassroots initiatives and volunteerism in providing welcome and integration services; 7) Prioritizing the use of Personalized Integration Programs (PIPs) and including employment as an important benchmark in such integration plans.
We hope that this summary of policy reflections, tools and resources and recommendations produced by the SHARE network will support and offer guidance to regional and local actors implementing reception programmes in Europe and be a useful policy tool for a broad range of actors working in the field of asylum and migration in Europe.