Driving Migrant Inclusion through Social Innovation: Lessons for Cities in a Pandemic

Publication language
Date published
25 Sep 2020
Research, reports and studies
COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Forced displacement and migration, Host Communities, Refugee Camps, Innovation, Poverty, Protection, Social protection
International Organization for Migration (IOM), Migration Policy Institute

The rapid arrival of millions of asylum seekers and migrants in Europe in 2015–16 forced cities both large and small to rethink their approach to immigrant inclusion. Many localities, recognizing the newcomers’ diverse backgrounds and at times complex needs, began to experiment with innovative models of service provision, including by working with nongovernmental actors and involving community members more directly in the design and implementation of projects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced European cities to confront a whole new set of challenges. Among them, how to support residents—including refugees and other migrants—amid social-distancing orders, all while public services operate at reduced capacity and in the face of likely budget cuts.

This MPI Europe-International Organization for Migration (IOM) report explores key lessons cities can draw from the social innovation that accompanied the 2015–16 arrivals to help them weather the challenges brought by the pandemic. The study’s findings come in part from interviews conducted with representatives of municipalities and civil-society organizations in Austria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Spain.  

This research is part of the ADMin4ALL project on supporting social inclusion of vulnerable migrants in Europe, implemented by IOM and funded by the European Commission