Sensitize public opinion and stakeholders for the importance of addressing root causes of refugee crisis at local level in countries of origin
CIVEX has been consistently advocating for "shared responsibility" and for the protection of refugees
Stress the importance of the reception and integration of refugees in countries of origin
The Opinion noted the magnitude of the refugee crisis and the need of a holistic approach. The opinion shows that local and regional authorities can make a significant contribution to achieving EU objectives in this context and sets out the instruments needed for that to happen. It emphasises the way that the strategies and possibilities of the various tiers of government can complement each other in order to achieve better coordination and results, driven by the fundamental rights and values that are at the heart of the EU.
In line with the European Committee of the Regions Opinion the Communication of the European Commission on Forced Displacement and Development pointed out that the EU’s comprehensive approach to external conflict and crises provides an important entry point for strategically coherent use of different EU policies and instruments in close cooperation with Member States. The European Commission called for greater synergies between humanitarian and development actors regarding shared analyses, programming and the predictability and flexibility of funding, including at local level, where the most innovative responses emerge. A common strategic agenda and greater cooperation between international donors, host governments, local communities, civil society and the displaced themselves should be put forward.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- regrets that, in practice, most attention has been given to limiting the number of refugees coming to Europe and distributing them between the Member States, rather than to protecting these people's rights at all levels. Local and regional authorities have an unprecedented responsibility in this respect for the reception and integration of refugees in Europe; the Committee also deems it important for the European Commission to pay ongoing, close attention to the growing challenges and draw up proposals with a view to supporting the activities carried out by the affected local and regional authorities to this end;
- notes that less attention has to date been given to the reception of refugees in the regions to which the country belongs. This is despite the fact that their number is much higher in those regions than it is in Europe: the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered 2.1 million Syrian refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon; the Turkish government has registered 1.9 million Syrians, while there are over 26 700 Syrian refugees in North Africa, i.e. a total of 4 390 439 people;
- notes that regardless of whether or not accommodation involves camps, large numbers of displaced people have a major impact on host communities: placing greater pressure on basic services, in relation to provision of drinking water supplies, education and healthcare, protection of the environment (waste and sewage, integration into the labour market, etc.;
- acknowledges that this pressure on host communities often comes on top of existing problems and challenges. The combined effect is often to generate social tensions between refugees and host communities, and among (groups of) refugees themselves, or to stir up dormant social tensions within host communities.