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Initiative

Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugee issues (ACCMR)

Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugee issues (ACCMR)
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MUNICIPALITY OF ATHENS

City of Athens seats on the Central Domain of the Athens' area. It occupies an area of 38.96 square kms, has a population of 664.046 inhabitants according to the census of 2011 and is growing at an altitude of 90 meters.

 

Read more:  www.cityofathens.gr


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Objective Action

The Athens Coordination Center - an innovative and unique initiative for Greek standards - aims at supporting the municipality's work in the field of integration of migrants and refugees currently living in the city of Athens, but also in the field of emergency management linked with future migration flows. What is needed for that is the creation of a culture of cooperation between local authorities and actors involved in  integration and social cohesion initiatives (local and international NGOs, international organizations, migrant and refugee communities). The Athens Coordination Center, through transparent and participatory processes and tools developed, is shaping  the necessary conditions for developing synergies and implementing pilot projects that promote integration, social cohesion and quality of life in Athens.

 

Target Audience

The target audience of Athens Coordination Center directly includes all the actors involved in the support and integration of migrants and refugees in Athens, such as international and local NGOs, institutional authorities and organizations, representatives of civil society, municipal bodies, migrant and refugee community groups and donors. Indirect beneficiaries are the individual members of migrant and refugee population, receiving support by the ACCMR members.

 

Duration

From 2017 until August 2018.


Description

Since the beginning of 2015, with Greece’s unprecedented number of migrant and refugee arrivals fleeing conflict, the City of Athens has increasingly adopted a proactive approach towards developing strategies to address the needs of these vulnerable populations. In this context, the City of Athens undertook the initiative to establish the Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugee issues (ACCMR). The ACCMR was established and has been operating since June 2017 with an exclusive grant from Stavros Niarchos Foundation under the “Migration and Refugees Coordination Center & Observatory" project and with the support of Athens Partnership which manages the implementation of the project. ACCMR operates within the framework of the Vice – Mayor’s Office for Migrants, Refugees and Municipal Decentralization.

When considering the current – and potential – added value of this scheme to any integration plan adopted at a local level, as well as the multiplier effects of this relatively low-cost mechanism, it becomes evident that the City of Athens Migrants and Refugees Project is a viable and sustainable venture, that could be considered a best practice not only for Greece but –possibly – for Europe.

The initiative promotes the efficient coordination between the municipal authorities and various stakeholders operating within the city, such as local and international NGOs, international organizations, migrant and refugee community groups. Its goal is to shape the necessary conditions for the smooth integration of migrants and refugees currently living in the city of Athens, but also for dealing with emergency situations linked with future migration flows.

The ACCMR functions as a coordination hub  for generating proposals and initiatives on the city's migrant and refugee integration policies, to strengthen synergies and encourage common activities among its members, and to maximize the added value of programs that are implemented.  In this context, a Strategic Action Plan for the smooth integration of migrants and refugees in the city, has been developed. Importantly, ACCMR in collaboration with key stakeholders is working to build a Preparedness Mechanism for effective contingency planning in the event of refugee-related emergencies. The Center also liaises with other municipalities in order to exchange and transfer know-how and experience.

ACCMR’s operation is organized around 5 Working Committees with the participation of both municipal and other actors involved in the provision of services to migrants and refugees, each focusing on a specific set of services (housing, employment, health, education, legal support), and all working towards defining a comprehensive service delivery system that takes into consideration the short-term and long-term goals of integration.


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Impact on Society

•   Through participative, bottom-up, transparent procedures, the organizations/members are able to co-shape the  Strategic Action Plan for the integration of migrants and refugees in the city and the Preparedness Mechanism for effective contingency planning in the event of refugee-related emergencies. 

•   The members of the Center  have access to information on integration policies / practices at European level and also have the opportunity to take an active part in consultation processes through the European networks of cities in which the municipality participates.

•   The ACCMR members have the opportunity to take part in educational and informative events organized and/or coordinated by the ACCMR. Within seven months from the beginning of its operations, 8 training seminars and workshops have been organized.

•   ACCMR members gained access to the participatory digital platform www.accmr.gr that has been developed by the Center in order to support the effective mapping of services and activities concerning migrants and refugees in the City of Athens and thus to facilitate the exchange of information and resources between the different stakeholder groups involved the provision of services/organization of activities and between their professional staff. The platform also connects organizations with individuals, businesses and other actors who want to offer support.

•   ACCMR members came up with 67 pilot activities  with a view to implement part of those activities in cooperation with the municipality within the framework of its strategic priorities on integration issues.

•   Through the "Refugee Code Week" an initiative of SAP Hellas, supported by the ACCMR, more than 350 refugees aged between 11 and 25 were trained in the basic programming principles and took the first step towards obtaining a very important to help them integrate into the labor market.

•   The Center has so far contributed to the conclusion of  5 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with organizations, which serve as a basis of cooperation and mutual support. 



Initiative Location

Athens


Working with Organization

The Center currently counts 75 members, while over 200 representatives of the members are actively involved in ACCMR’s operations.


Workers Participation

3 employees


Benefits for Οrganization

•   Conclusion of 7 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with municipalities in Greece for the exchange of know-how and the implementation of common actions.

•   The organizations participating in the Center contribute with their know-how on integration and support of migrants and refugees in improving the services of the municipality (Capacity Building).

•   The Center, as representative of the municipality in national and international fora, promotes the work of the City of Athens regarding the integration of refugees and migrants. Up to date, ACCMR counts 8 participations in conferences and workshops.




Connection with Global Goals







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