Social Innovation for Integration

Cities in the EU are re-opening – amid rising social challenges and threats of new restrictions – after the lockdowns forced by the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. How will they manage to support the integration of their migrant populations in such a rapidly changing socioeconomic landscape?

The social innovation structures born in response to the 2015‑2016 peak of migrant arrivals could be the ticket to a more cost-effective and political viable response, according to the study on “Driving Migrant Inclusion through Social Innovation: Lessons for cities in a pandemic, jointly released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Europe.

This study examines the potential of social innovation to support migrant inclusion. It explores promising practices implemented in EU cities to address the growing integration needs of newcomers, drawing on interviews with representatives of municipalities in Austria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania and Spain. Such innovative practices include forging untraditional partnerships with non-state actors, finding original financial solutions and increasing the involvement of communities. It concludes by offering reflections on how these lessons can help cities advance inclusion and social cohesion in the wake of COVID-19 and amid the associated socioeconomic uncertainty.

The main findings of the IOM-MPI study were discussed in a webinar with representatives of the European Commission, cities and local NGOs. The webinar shed light on local efforts in the EU to promote innovation for migrant inclusion and the impact the pandemic is having on their sustainability as well as on migrant integration at large.

To download the IOM-MPI study, click on the attachment below.