Making Social Cohesion Work for Everyone: What Can We Learn from Development Interventions on How to Promote Inclusion and Reduce Xenophobia?
Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Crisis Bureau
Maybelis Ávila Barona, Vice President, Association Salto Angel, and responsible for the Banco Amable project in Colombia
Alexander Vandersmissen, Mayor of Mechelen, Belgium
Raffaella Greco Tonegutti, Lead expert on Migration and Development, Enabel, the Belgian development agency
Alpha Camara, Agent Communautaire, National Employment Agency (ANAPEC), Morocco; Member of the Guinean diaspora community in Morocco
Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Associate Director, International Program, MPI
Concerns that xenophobia and discrimination are on the rise have sparked a panoply of investments in promoting social cohesion and combatting prejudice against people on the move. These concerns are particularly acute in the wake of rising forced displacement and a global pandemic that triggered widespread scapegoating of migrants, and whose economic devastation may further fray the social fabric of communities.
Governments, NGOs, and international organizations have called for new ideas to harness solidarity and reduce conflict, and these ideas have featured prominently in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Yet not enough is known on what actually works to reduce prejudice and mitigate social tensions, especially as so few interventions—from digital campaigns to community-building interventions—have been rigorously evaluated. This side event of the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) aims to spark a much-needed, practical dialogue around what works to promote feelings of trust and blunt tensions and prejudice before they take root.
The discussion looks at what has been effective to build socially cohesive and inclusive societies—including lessons from post-conflict settings on how to build intergroup trust—as well as examples of promising ideas on paper that may have fallen short in practice, and why.
This side event was organized jointly by MPI, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Enabel (the Belgian Development Agency) on the margins of the first IMRF.
Simultaneous interpretation was provided in Spanish and French.