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Peer-to-Peer Learning Workshop: Strengthening Social Cohesion in Municipalities Hosting Refugees

  • Starts: Nov 10, 2016
  • Ends: Nov 12, 2016
  • Location: Sanliurfa, Turkey
  • By: CMI, UCLG, GIZ
  • Context and Rationale

    Following the exchanges from the Peer to Peer learning workshop “Mediterranean Municipalities at the Forefront of the Refugee Crisis” which took place in Amman May 30-June 1st, 2016, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) launched a Host Municipalities Learning Network in September 2016. Within the framework of this network, and as part of its Mediterranean Refugees and Host Communities Knowledge Action Program, the CMI will be organizing a series of Peer to Peer Learning Workshops and Webinars  focusing on priority sectors identified by refugees hosting communities aiming at supporting Mediterranean municipalities and local authorities for a better service delivery in the context of the refugee crisis.


    In light of the high influx of Syrian refugees neighboring countries are experiencing, social cohesion has been identified as a key priority for the stability of the region and the peaceful co-existence of different social, ethnic and religious groups within the host municipalities. 86% of municipalities who participated in the CMI survey “Challenges and achievements facing municipalities hosting refugees in the Middle East and Turkey” have reported an increase in social tensions as a result of the large refugee influx. The arrival of large numbers of refugees often leads to fears of security threat, discrimination, and rising of social tensions. Rising economic competition, can threaten the social cohesion of communities as high unemployment rates, scarce resources, health risks, and rising prices for accommodation make host and refugee communities equally vulnerable. Moreover, in a situation of rapid demographic change, communities can perceive that their social norms and traditions are jeopardized.  All this can trigger (violent) conflicts. Understanding the root causes of social tensions presents the first step in developing mid- and long-term solutions. For municipalities, coordinating the development of adequate local approaches with multiple stakeholders in a participatory and inclusive way is one of the key challenges. Many of them lack resources and decision-making power to appropriately operationalize response strategies and address social stressors at community level, and the absence of an efficient government response to these challenges can further aggravate mistrust in government institutions among the population and therefore weaken state-society relations.


    Local governments, who are at the forefront of those challenges, contribute to the development of local approaches and solutions to mitigate the risks of insecurity and violence, resolve conflict, and build social cohesion.





    The two-day workshop, jointly organized by CMI and the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), and combined with a technical field visit, seeks to share regional best practices and lessons learnt in social cohesion among host municipalities in the Mashreq and Turkey. It will be held in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on November 10-11th, 2016 and is scheduled in the context of the UCLG-MEWA Summit on Migration Management, (November 8-10th, 2016).

    The workshop will be composed of three sessions and will allow participants to split up in two working groups, discuss main outcomes and plan next steps in their respective Social cohesion agenda:

    • Session 1: Appropriate concepts and flexible strategies and tools to implement and measure social cohesion.
    • Session 2: Social cohesion as a cross-cutting topic (Housing, economic development, and service delivery). 
    • Session 3: Building inclusive communities for common welfare through networks.

    A technical field visit to the “International Middle East Peace Research” (IMPR) Humanitarian Urfa Community Support Center in Sanliurfa and the “Peace and Art Center” in Gaziantep will offer the participants the chance to see first-hand a project which improved local service delivery in the field of Social Cohesion, so to discuss and possibly try to replicate such best practice. 



    Targeted Audience

    Mediterranean municipalities hosting a high number of refugees: Jordanian, Lebanese and Turkish local government representatives, and relevant social cohesion stakeholders.



    Expected Results

    • Further exchange of experiences and innovative practices and solutions on how to strengthen social cohesion and to promote peaceful co-existence between refugees and host communities

    • Identification of potential mid- and long-term solutions, which could support host communities and refugees
    • Development of common methods and strategies from which both municipalities and other actors concerned with social cohesion can benefit
    • Selection of good practices and experiences to be added as a contribution for the Best Practices Compendium for Communities Hosting Refugees and possible input to the CMI annual Peer-to Peer Learning event for Host municipalities



    Extended Concept Note 

    Framing Notes

    Best Practice Sheet: IMPR Urfa Community Center,” Strengthening Survival Skills of Displaced People in Sanliurfa

    Detailed Workshop Report


    Participants’ Presentations


    Day 1


    Context and Objectives of the Workshop

    Take Away Messages from UCLG MEWA International Migration Management Summit

    Key Note: Social Cohesion in the context of the refugee crisis

    Session I: Appropriate concepts and flexible strategies and tools to implement and measure social cohesion


    Moderated Panel & Plenary discussion | Moderator: Atallah Kuttab



    Parallel Working Groups Session I


    Moderators: Lauranne Callet, Expertise France | Sara Boughedir, CMI

    Rapporteurs: Gabriela Schanz, GIZ | Amrei Meier, SWP


    Day 2


    Recap Day 1 and Presentations of Working Groups Results Session I


    Moderator and Rapporteurs


    Session II: Social cohesion as a cross-cutting topic (Housing, economic development, and service delivery)


    Multi-Media presentation: Manjula Luthria, World Bank: Opening Doors and Minds: Urban Migrant Inclusion in Policy and Practice


    Moderated Panel & Plenary discussion | Moderator: Atallah Kuttab




    Parallel Working Groups Session II 


    Moderators: Heidi Gutsche, GIZ | Janette Uhlmann, CMI

    Rapporteurs: Gabriela Schanz, GIZ | Amrei Meier, SWP


    Session III: Building inclusive communities for common welfare through networks


    Moderated Panel & Plenary discussion | Moderator: Atallah Kuttab




    Parallel Working Groups Session III 


    Moderators: Heidi Gutsche, GIZ | Sonja Meyer, GIZ 

    Rapporteurs: Gabriela Schanz, GIZ | Amrei Meier, SWP


    Session III: Presentation of Group Results


    Moderator and Rapporteurs


    Discussion on Next Steps


    Atallah Kuttab + Janette Uhlmann, CMI + Heidi Gutsche, GIZ


    Session Videos

    Session I: Appropriate Concepts and Flexible Strategies and Tools to Implement and Measure Social Cohesion (EN, AR)

    Session II: Social Cohesion as a Cross-cutting Topic (EN, AR)

    Session III: Building Inclusive Communities for Common Welfare through Networks (EN, AR)


    Photo Reportage: Life Away from Syria