Share SIRA Transnational Conference Strengthening and Expanding Social Orientation and Integration of Newcomers in Rural Areas
The Share Network, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Europe and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are organizing a one-day Share SIRA transnational conference on ‘Strengthening and Expanding the
The Share Network, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Europe and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are organizing a one-day Share SIRA transnational conference on ‘Strengthening and Expanding the Social Orientation and Integration of Newcomers in Rural Areas’ on 23 November 2022 at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels.
Rural areas are today at the heart of the environmental, digital, social and demographic transition. Representing 80% of the EU’s total surface area and home to 30% of its population, EU’s rural territories cover a wide diversity ranging from inland regions, mountain areas and islands to coastal areas. Small and rural communities face similar structural challenges, such as demographic decline, poor digital and transport connectivity, difficulties in meeting employment needs and access to services due to overconcentration in large cities. It is estimated that 5.5% of the population of rural areas in the EU has a migrant background.
In recent years, and particularly since 2015, rural communities have emerged as important actors in the reception and integration of newcomers (asylum seekers, refugees, migrants) due to resettlement programmes, national placement policies, community sponsorship and other forms of civic engagement, which add to the traditional demand for migrant labour. Whether as a result of top-down distribution processes or bottom-up responses, small and rural territories have undeniably become testing grounds for new integration practices.
In a rapidly migration context, it is crucial to build inclusive rural territories to ensure that these can respond to new challenges and needs. When effectively mainstreamed into rural policymaking across demographic, social, economic and development sectors, migration can be a key driver of rural revitalisation, or the long-term positive transformation of rural areas and communities. At the same time, integration policy and programmes must specifically address the ways in which structural challenges for rural territories can amplify the common integration barriers faced by refugees and migrants and involve both newcomers and local communities.
The transnational Share SIRA conference aims to explore the conditions for successful inclusion in small and rural communities, highlighting inspiring grassroots practices and linking them to current research and policy frameworks. It will present the outcomes and lessons learned of the AMIF-funded SIRA project, which has piloted innovative integration actions and used multi-stakeholder approaches to strengthen inclusion in 10 rural regions in Greece, France, Poland and Spain. The conference will bring together representatives from EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, civil society and refugee/migrant-led organisations, research projects and academia, the private sector and foundations, as well as rural stakeholders, to discuss how to enhance synergies between integration and local development strategies and identify future opportunities for engagement.
This conference is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
he European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
(Wednesday) 09:00 - 17:15