The European cities Velletri (Italy) and Murcia (Spain) shared experiences with the Colombian municipality Barranquilla in the webinar The challenge of migrant communities and Covid-19, last May 18, as part of the IUC-LAC Dialogues program. City representatives talked about poverty, urban regeneration, housing, social inclusion and equity. The session was moderated by Sandra Marín, IUC-LAC City-City Cooperation Coordinator.
The dialogue had the participation and contribution of specialists from Arci, UNHCR, ActionAid and CEPAIM, who shared experiences and offered recommendations to Barranquilla on approaches and projects to help refugees and migrants who are at greater risk of contracting diseases, including Covid- 19. They were shared about health guidelines and measures related to the new coronavirus, as well as how different public administrations simultaneously address the health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic to encourage the social inclusion of migrants.
Mercedes Hernandez, Murcia’s head of international relations, said that “one of his main actions was to develop the local Inclusion Committee, with the participation of municipal officials and NGO teams dedicated to migrants and homeless people.” Among the ideas presented by Velletri, the importance of good coordination and communication with the community and religious leaders, different associations, local administrators and NGOs was highlighted in order to deal and be successful with the implementation of new events and actions.
In Italy, an ambitious program was introduced by ARCI. The Juma Map website maps, at the national level, services for asylum seekers and holders of international and humanitarian protection. The platform allows visitors to understand the areas of the territory where services need to be configured and where COVID-19 information and services are available.
The main conclusions and results obtained from this committee resulted in an advisory report of action to the authorities, so that they can act in accordance with the Department of Assistance to Social Work, within each municipality and regional government. The webinar is part of the IUC’s initiatives to pair cities in the European Union, with the aim of helping to develop new ideas, considering the main challenges related to the impact on settlements, where migrants are characterized by low socioeconomic conditions.
Manuel Trujillo, director of international relations and coordinator of IUC Barranquilla, participated in this edition of the Dialogues, Ricardo Vives, director of urban projects and city intelligence at the Puerta de Oro event center, representing Barranquilla. The European speakers were Maria Nanni Costa, manager of social services in the city of Velletri and Mercedes Hernandez, head of international relations in the city of Murcia. The session also had the contribution of Giovanni Vanore (Juma Map / Arci-UNHCR), Antonio Vivace (ActionAid – IT) and Jesús Tolmo (CEPAIM – ES).
Presentacions and report