Cities and the diversity advantage – towards more effective communication and public debate
Final Event - Brussels (Belgium), 12-13 June 2012
A joint programme of the Council of Europe and the European Commission addresses public perceptions of diversity in seven European cities. Despite efforts of local authorities to emphasise the advantages of diversity for urban development, most citizens do not recognise these advantages (based on findings of an opinion poll by IPSOS, June 2011).
The programme Shaping Perceptions and Attitudes to Realise the Diversity Advantage (SPARDA) was launched and implemented by the Council of Europe with the support of the European Commission. In line with European Agenda for Integration (2011), SPARDA
responds to the priority of "more action at local level" and its overall goal is
to foster successful integration of migrants through local communication
strategies. Seven partner cities were selected as "demonstration sites" to
implement communication campaigns:
Reggio Emilia (Italy), Institut des Médias/ISCPA
Lyon (France), and the Consortium of
PACTEM Nord in Valencia (Spain). The project began in January 2011 and will end in June 2012.
A final partners’ meeting was organised on 12th of June, in the Council of Europe Office in Brussels (avenue Nierviens, 85, 1400 Brussels). It
was followed by a
conference to the attention of other European partners to present the results and lessons from SPARDA. It
took place on
13 June in the Committee of Regions. The communication campaigns on diversity and integration in the seven partner cities and the results of the perception surveys which assess their results
were presented and recommendations to policy makers and other local stakeholders for more effective communication strategies
During panel discussions and presentations, project partners shared their experience and opinions on strategic communication of diversity management and integration at the local level and discuss possibilities for changes and improvements. Policy makers responsible for the field of integration from the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the Committee of Regions
were invited to participate in the debates. The conference welcomed the experts from the Council of Europe and the IPSOS Research Institute who have actively contributed to the project, as well as representatives from other projects financed through the European Integration Fund and who share similar thematic as SPARDA.
The findings and lessons from SPARDA are included in the toolkit of the Intercultural cities programme – a joint action of the of the Council of Europe and the European Commission that aims at stimulating new ideas and practice in relation to the integration of migrants and minorities. The network facilitates mutual mentoring and exchange between cities which all face the challenge of migration and diversity.