Results and impact of the Intercultural Cities programme
The ICC Programme is based on the concept that cultural diversity is an advantage rather than a burden for cities if it is managed in the right way. The Programme uses a bottom-up approach. It develops standards and guidance on the management of cultural diversity in co-operation with and based on the concrete experience of city administrations.
The 2014 evaluation (the Directorate of Internal Oversight of the Council of Europe carried out an Evaluation of the Intercultural Cities (ICC) Programme in 2014) found that cities use ICC tools and find them helpful. They have obtained knowledge, techniques and good practices in managing cultural diversity from ICC guidance and exchange with other ICC member cities. The ICC Programme has triggered the creation of networks and partnerships between like-minded cities, sometimes leading to joint intercultural projects. Some cities have developed intercultural strategies on the basis of ICC guidance while others already had strategies in place before joining the ICC network.
The ICC member cities found that the Diversity Advantage Approach promoted by the ICC Programme has contributed to considerable change at city society level. They observed an improvement of social cohesion, in particular with regard to better neighbourhood relationships, improved openness and tolerance among the city population towards migrants and/or minorities and a decreased intensity of conflicts (see graph below).
Positive effects of intercultural initiatives/projects/policies at city society level in the area of social cohesion
Source: Online survey among ICC coordinators of member cities
Change was also reported to have happened in a sample of three specific policy areas that the evaluation assessed in more depth. In the area of education, the most important change relates to the observations that teachers and school administrators became more culturally sensitive and that communication and reciprocal learning improved among children from different backgrounds. In the area of culture, arts and sports, the changes most frequently observed include an increase in the participation of migrants and minorities in cultural and arts activities and thereby formal and informal exchanges between population groups from different cultural backgrounds. In the area of local political participation, change (though overall less frequently observed) occurred mostly in the form of increased cultural sensitivity of local political leaders and improved collective problem solving ability of communities.