Linking-In EU Resettlement (2011-2013)
In September 2011, IOM, ICMC and UNHCR started the ERF co-funded ‘Linking-In EU Resettlement’ project. The title of the project refers to the different resettlement stages the refugee must pass through, from the moment he has fled his country to a first country of asylum to when he is resettled to a new country.
The project, which ran until January 2013, aimed to strengthen the expertise of European practitioners in all stages of the resettlement and integration process by building a network of resettlement practitioners and actors.
It focused on the reception and integration of refugees at the local level and linking the pre-departure and post-arrival phases in order to make resettlement more successful. National, regional and local governmental authorities, NGO and civil society representatives were able to connect and share knowledge and best practice in resettlement.
A wide range of activities were organised, including national multi-stakeholder meetings in most of the individual member states and a number of local practitioners’ trainings. The project also aimed to pilot innovative activities in resettlement including - but not limited to - initiatives involving private sponsorship, arts and media.
The European Resettlement Network Project (2012 -2014)
Building on ‘Linking-In EU Resettlement’, in 2012 the European Resettlement Network initiated the homonymous project ‘The European Resettlement Network’, designed to provide a platform and activities to link all resettlement actors.
The network aimed to promote exchanges of information and know-how on resettlement priorities, processes, and practices and offered practice-based solutions to those actors considering to start a resettlement programme or to expand and improve their programmes.
The European Resettlement Network project, which ran until 2014, established the European Resettlement Network as a community of practitioners. Under the project, theEuropean Resettlement Network website was launched as on online forum for practitioners.
Strengthening the response to emergency resettlement needs (2013-2014)
This project supported the existing European Resettlement Network and, as such, further promoted cooperation among different stakeholders and built their capacity to increase and improve resettlement efforts. It also focused on raising awareness of emergency resettlement, conducted outreach, and facilitated mutual learning and exchange of good practice amongst European Resettlement Network members and stakeholders. In an effort to enhance the sustainability of the Network and further advance ownership of it among stakeholders, up to 15 National Network Focal Points, for whom specific terms of references were developed, were recruited through a call for expressions of interest. The National Network Focal Points were drawn from civil society, national, regional and local authorities, International Organisations, NGOs, and faith-based organisations. They wereresponsible for gathering and disseminating information and knowledge, contributing material and input for the website, creating awareness of emergency and priority situations, and developing activities at the national level.
An initial European Resettlement Network meeting brought together approximately 40 active members of the Network, and served as an opportunity to discuss the Network’s structure, and to share ideas and expectations; it was also an opportunity to identify potential Focal Points. Over the course of the project, the National Network Focal Points, with the support of the project coordinators, organised a series of thematic and regional awareness-raising, networking and capacity-building events and workshops on resettlement, bringing together participants from government, International Organisations, NGO’s, civil society, as well as regional and local authorities. These events served as a platform to highlight the particular needs of refugees, to highlight emergency resettlement and priority situations, to share best practice and experiences, and to offer inspiring solutions to common challenges.
In order to further strengthen and structure the Network, the project coordinators established a Network Steering Committee, which was comprised of the project coordinators and various other key stakeholders. This forum sought to refine the European Resettlement Network strategy for the following year. The project also focused on further developing the ERN website to highlight emergency resettlement needs and priority situations, and to build the capacity of European countries to respond to emergency resettlement situations. In this effort, the website was expanded to include also a resource library, a directory of resettlement policymakers and practitioners, and an online Community of Practice to facilitate discussion groups and consultations.