Local responses to refugee crisis: from initial reception to longer term integration



Deadline for submission: 29 April 2016

Much attention has been paid to how the current wave of refugees will be distributed across European countries and the national policies, initiatives and programmes that will need to be put in place to facilitate their integration. Yet the refugee crisis has an equally important local dimension. Local authorities and a range of local organisations are at the forefront of reception and integration efforts, including community-based organisations, NGOs and social enterprises, employment services, and education and training institutions. They must provide a rapid response, often in the context of reduced resources and political tensions.

The OECD LEED Programme launches this “Call for Initiatives" to extract what local authorities and other actors know works, what the new scenario is demanding and how equipped they are to respond. We are interested in learning from the experiences of EU member countries, the wider OECD area as well as other countries.

The information collected through this Call will help the OECD/LEED Programme to understand how local authorities and other stakeholders respond to the challenges of managing in the short and long runs the current migration flows. An analysis of the practices and programmes received should enable us to provide policy guidance to local authorities and national governments. In the short run, it is an opportunity for selected projects to gain visibility through our platform displaying the various initiatives. Please be informed that there is no funding foreseen for submitted applications or projects.

We are looking for current and past examples of:

  1. Strategic responses by local governments: Local governments are putting in place responses coordinating different actors and levels of government to address the emergency but also to plan ahead and prepare for successful integration. This strategic approach can stem from the implementation of a national scheme for refugee reception or resettlement or represent a bottom-up strategy.

  2. Individual projects and programmes’ that focus on immediate response and / or longer term integration:
    • Integrated services/ one stop shops: Navigating the complex webs of policies and programmes in a new country can be a significant challenge for refugees. We are looking for information on actions designed to provide or facilitate the provision of services to refugees through better coordination and simplification of procedures.

    • Housing and access to health services: Local governments, citizens and other local actors have been doing much to provide shelter to refugees and access to basic health services, however longer-term solutions need to be put in place to address the challenge. We are looking for information on actions designed to provide access to housing and health services to refugees.

    • Labour market integration: Targeted initiatives may be useful in ensuring that refugees can make smooth transitions into the labour market once legal status allows. Public employment services can play a key role in helping refugees face the medium and long-term challenges of successfully integrating into the labour market. Also apprenticeships can facilitate labour market entry. Work integration social enterprises can also offer training and jobs to help integration in the local labour market. We are looking for information on actions designed in facilitating the fair employment of refugees in local job markets, taking into consideration their effective competences and qualifications. Particular attention will be paid to initiatives which deal with skills assessment process and skills matching.

    • Education and training:  Newcomers often require support in validating diplomas and skills gained abroad, and support in adapting skills to new labour markets (including occupationally specific language training).  We are looking for information on actions designed to facilitate refugees’ access to education and training, support skills validation and adaptation, as well as information on initiatives to integrate children of refugees into the public education system. Particular attention will be paid to initiatives which deal with skills assessment process and re-skilling initiatives.

    • Business start-up support: Starting up their own business could be for many refugees a viable option. Tailoring business services to specific needs of the newcomers (work permit, business registration, access to finance, business premises), is very important to ensure that services reach their target. Mentors and coaches, who understand both the local context and the cultural background of the would-be-entrepreneurs, play an important role for business start-up, survival and growth. We are looking for information on actions designed to support the creation of new ventures by refugees and embed them in the local economic fabric.

    • Raising awareness and public participation: Migration and its impact on local economies in host countries is often misunderstood by the general public, leading to political tensions and hindering the capacity to respond to the challenges. Local initiatives have an important role to play in debunking some of these misconceptions. We are looking for information on activities designed to inform populations on refugees, their needs and the potential for local development they represent.


Who can participate in the call?

The call focuses on actions and programmes implemented at a local level by public authorities and agencies as well as NGO’s, social economy organisations, refugee councils. It can also include local actions and programmes organised through national and international networks.

Forms can be submitted in English and French online or by sending the completed following forms to Celia Hanssen.

Forms in Word version:

For further information on the call for initiatives, please contact Celia Hanssen.


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