Major UN Europe Meeting Hears About How Turkey Tackles Integration
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IOM’s regional programmes in Turkey were presented at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva on 21 March as governments and UN agencies meet to discuss sustainable development in the region.
Turkish government representatives shone a spotlight on IOM’s social cohesion programmes to exemplify action towards Sustainable Development Goal 10 – Tackling Inequality through Social Cohesion.
Almost four million foreign nationals are present in Turkey, many seeking international protection. Among them are 3.6 million Syrians, making Turkey host to the largest refugee population in the world.
The rapid expansion of migrant communities all over the country has understandably resulted in challenges for integration, sometimes leading to social tensions.
IOM and Turkish government initiatives include sport and entertainment for youth, language classes, cultural events, courses for women, arts and crafts, cultural excursions and community festivals. These have already paid dividends, cooling tensions and assisting in mutual understanding.
“We cannot overstress the vital importance of social cohesion and integration globally, and particularly in Europe in these troubled times”, noted IOM’s director for Southeast Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Argentina Szabados. “We need to ramp up our work to bring communities closer and to ensure people have activities that make them feel they are listened to and valued.”