Copenhagen takes its intercultural engagement further
With the explicit goal of becoming the most inclusive major city in Europe, Copenhagen launched a new three-year programme entitled
Engage in CPH. The programme makes use of many of the dimensions of the Intercultural Cities approach and focuses on three specific goals from Copenhagen’s Inclusion Policy 2011-2013. Firstly, more people must experience a sense of belonging to the city. Secondly, fewer people must feel excluded on grounds of poverty, and thirdly, fewer people must experience discrimination. As for the second goal, through not including the actual fight against poverty as such, an attempt is made to increase the focus on poverty separately as a barrier for active citizenship (of course, the city has strategies to reduce actual poverty as well, but this is being done outside the framework of this programme).
The programme is addressing three principles and three levels. The principles are that difference is strength, that everybody should have the opportunity to be involved and that active citizenship is everybody’s concern. The levels are the city itself (its administration and services), its
"players" (from work life, the media, civil society, and the likes) and its citizens. Though a centrally coordinated project, it is stressed that the execution must be local.
In order to ensure local execution civil society players will be engaged in four networks. They will work under the headlines; work life, education, city life and dialogue. The networks will create spill-over effects and thus engaged more civil society players over time.
One of the foci of the programme is the communication between the city and its multilingual citizenry and there will for example be a best practice catalogue for written communication to ethnic minorities. Other activities proposed in the programme are the examination of the relationship between media and ethnic minorities and continuation of a Citizen Counsellors’ discrimination hotline.
Commitment to the Intercultural City Network and its comparative analyses through the Intercultural City Index is also a part of the programme. In the annual account of the progress of Engage in CPH, this very index will be an instrument for evaluation. Focus will be on how the programme has contributed to Copenhagen becoming a more inclusive city.