How can YMB participate in the decision-making process? Could this be further developed? What are the opportunities and challenges they face currently? What are their perceptions and experiences about this?

The participation of all members of society in political life is a prerequisite for the legitimacy of the democratic system in which we live. A sense of belonging to the host community is created by civic participation, and that is why it should be encouraged, at least at the local level. Amending or developing new national, regional, and local policies appears to be, therefore, a necessity for migrants to become an integral part of their new society and consequently contribute to their communities and overall political stability. “United in Diversity” is the European Motto and highlights the advantages that diversity could bring to the table.

A bottom-up approach, typical of NGOs, has been adopted to tackle multiple dilemmas. However, we all advocate unanimously for pluralistic city identities built around interculturalism and common values. Creating new narratives and understanding the rationales why immigrants don’t participate and aren’t as active as locals is nowadays pivotal to propose new solutions and to further democratize the cities.

Hence, debates on the different realities at the local levels in the cities of Lisbon, Cologne, and Barcelona have taken place. Critical reflections on different kinds of bureaucratic coordination between municipalities and regions, as well as the various relationships within the complex network of youth organizations, municipal officers, and decision-makers, were taught thoroughly. One of the discussed topics was also what could be improved in terms of efficiency. Accordingly, a workshop aimed to reflect on how to achieve equality, diversity, interaction, active citizenship, and participation in the cities was held on the 25th and 26th of January at the Fundació Catalunya Voluntaria office.

In Spain, around 11% of international migrants are under 24, and in 2021 the country implemented a reform that enables easier access to residence and work permits for unaccompanied children and to whomever in 2021 was less than 23. To foster a sense of belonging and to make them participate in the daily life of their neighborhood, we should reform and amend policies providing training courses whose beneficiaries are immigrants with their documentation already done. Espai Joves and Xarxanet, in the Catalunya region, specifically focus on promoting the participation of young migrants. Vincle is an example of virtuous practices and has become a social tool in Vilanova i la Geltrú and is based on a 1-1 relationship between mentor & mentee.

What can we do?

The created assessment tool is the outcome of the cooperation between Migrafica, Dypall Network, Citizen Association United Youth, and Fundació Catalunya Voluntaria, and you can find it in our pamphlet.

Through this, local authorities and civil society organizations can evaluate their local integration policies with a tool designed to conduct focus groups with project partners and other stakeholders. The core 5 indicators are Motivation, Impact, Competencies, Participation, and Strategy. There are 25 reflective questions and 27 closed-ended questions targeted at Youth Workers, Municipal Officers, and Decision-makers.