Belonging Starts with Policy and Practice: How Early Inclusion of All People Fleeing Ukraine Fosters Social Cohesion
Geneva – The arrival of newcomers – migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees alike – can present challenges and opportunities for both governments and communities. Early inclusion policies and providing newly arrived people with full access to services are key to promoting successful integration and social cohesion.
A new Toolkit on Facilitating Pathways to Inclusive and Cohesive Societies, developed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), guides policies and mechanisms on early inclusion of millions of people who have fled the war in Ukraine.
In response to the war in Ukraine, the European Commission has launched the Temporary Protection Directive, allowing Ukrainians and other people impacted by the war to temporarily access essential integration-related services in European Union (EU) countries. IOM has been supporting EU countries to implement the EU Solidarity Mechanism by facilitating movements, health checks and information services for refugees from Ukraine. As more people are expected to arrive, the inclusion of displaced persons into existing social protection schemes and development planning becomes increasingly relevant – in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries and beyond the EU.
Ensuring that newcomers – both Ukrainians and third-country nationals – have adequate support and services as soon as they arrive in their host countries can prevent the long-term consequences of social exclusion
Among the millions of people who have been forced to flee Ukraine, many are people with specific needs and vulnerabilities such as women, children, elderly persons, and those with disabilities. History and recent experiences of crisis have taught the world one important lesson: while many people intend to go back to their home countries, many cannot and will choose to stay.
Ensuring that newcomers – both Ukrainians and third-country nationals – have adequate support and services as soon as they arrive and settle in their host countries can prevent the long-term consequences of social exclusion of newcomers and subsequent generations. lnvestment in the inclusion of Ukrainians and addressing the needs of host communities early on, for example, with regards to housing, employment, education, language, health care, and social protection, is crucial for the long-term success of integration policies. Without early support and planning, local actors may be unprepared to provide adequate services for new arrivals which may worsen social tensions and xenophobic sentiments.
IOM’s new toolkit brings existing initiatives, tools and training together to leverage, scale up and replicate the medium to longer-term inclusion of new arrivals. It is also intended to provide inspiration for IOM missions, governments, civil society organizations and other partners on how to better prepare and respond to the challenges of receiving newcomers and supporting their needs along the migration journey – which remains relevant beyond the Ukraine crisis.
In line with the Global Compact for Migration, recognizing the skills, culture, and fresh perspectives that Ukrainians and third-country nationals bring are crucial for harnessing innovation and empowering migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion.
Addressing the needs of millions of people fleeing Ukraine requires action beyond immediate, life-saving emergency assistance. IOM recognizes that investing in early inclusion measures can advance social cohesion and inclusion of impacted populations in the medium and long term.
For more information contact:
Ace Dela Cruz, Coordinator on Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion, IOM, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org