On the second day of the 6th UCLG-MEWA Congress, members of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion gathered in Amman, Jordan. Administrative Meeting of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion included discussions on administrative matters related to the Committee, followed by a thematic panel entitled “The Role of Local Governments in Managing Migration.”
Administrative Meeting of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion
Mohamed Saadie, UCLG President for the period 2019-2022 and President of the Union of Municipalities of Dannieh, chaired the session and drew attention to the importance of social inclusion for communities in the MEWA Region. During the meeting, Fatma Hoşgöz, the former President of the Committee and the representative of Beylikdüzü Municipality, presented the Activity Report of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion for the period 2018-2019. Following that, Yasmin Alhayek, Officer of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion, presented the Committee’s program of activities and discussed the participants’ proposals for the activities of the Committee to be held next year. During the session, Salim Korkmaz, UCLG-MEWA General Coordinator, gave a speech on the the specific problems encountered in the MEWA Region from the perspective of social inclusion, followed by the presentation of the Committee’s policy paper as a roadmap. presented the, which was followed by a discussion about and the policies implemented by the Committee in collaboration with its members to find solutions to these issues.
Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, briefed the members on the issue of committee membership. Having applied for membership, Bursa Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey), Greater Irbid Municipality (Jordan), Eyyübiye Municipality (Turkey) and Mersin Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) shall be among the new members of the Committee. In addition, Mersin Municipality was elected as the President of the Committee for the 2019-2011 period while Greater Irbid Municipality, Beylikdüzü Municipality (Turkey), Saida Municipality (Lebanon) and Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) were elected as Co-Presidents of the Committee. The session was concluded with secretary General Duman and the President Saadie addressing the attendees with their closing speeches and congratulating the newly elected members of the Committee’s Presidency.
Panel on “The Role of Local Governments in Managing Migration”
A panel discussion entitled “The Role of Local Governments in Managing Migration” was organized during the 6th UCLG-MEWA Congress with the participation of many country representatives from different countries. Moderated by Mohamed Boussraoui, UCLG Program Director, the panel discussion consisted of speakers Kamel Kazbar, Member of the Municipal Council of Saida (Lebanon); Eng. Hussein Bani Hani, UCLG-MEWA Co-President and Mayor of Irbid; Assoc. Prof. Birol Ekici, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (UMT); Hülya Alper, Director of World Academy of Local Government and Democracy (WALD) and Firdaous Oussidhoum, Representative of United Cities and Local Governments World Organization (UCLG), Spain.
The discussion was directed towards fostering a creative discussion on the role of local governments in managing migration. During the session, the focus was on the following issues: social cohesion between the host community and the migrants, the problem of integration in business and economic life, the continuous movement of refugees, problems caused by cultural differences and difficulties experienced when adapting to city life, effects of the increment of the refugee population on municipal services, situations that cannot be turned into advantages due to lack of recognition of skills and qualifications of refugees and local mechanisms that can be formed to address this problem as well as to manage irregular migration. Also, municipalities shared their experiences related to the issue of migration management during the panel which brought a new perspective on the issue.