Limassol is a committed intercultural city. It has formally and publicly stated that it is an Intercultural City and has successfully adopted a comprehensive Intercultural Integration Strategy. The strategy is a part of a wider integration project “Limassol – one city, the whole world”, based on good practices from the Intercultural Cities Programme.
In order to address the challenges, the municipality has established a migrants’ advisory body called “Limassol Intercultural Council” which brings together over 40 representatives of migrants’ associations and NGOs, diplomatic representations, labour unions, media and active citizens interested in the inclusive integration work. The Intercultural Council meets and discusses the various challenges migrants and locals face and propose possible measures to solve them. As a result, the Council and the municipality jointly developed the city’s first Intercultural strategy for the period 2018-2020. Politically supported by the 2017 ICC Lisbon Declaration, the strategy was adopted in a joint session of the Intercultural and the Municipal councils in January 2018.
The strategy aims to become a guiding document which facilitates the development of Limassol as an open and intercultural city. The strategy was developed through a series of meetings of the Intercultural Council which were open to the public. Through needs assessments and brainstorming sessions, the Council detected eleven areas deemed relevant for the migrant communities and which need immediate intervention. They include culture, education, youth, families and parenting, housing, health, labour issues, policing and safety, access to public services, citizenship, and participation as well as intercultural branding and media. The budget necessary for the implementation of the strategy is covered by the EU AMIF fund with a contribution from the municipality.
Limassol has recently appointed an Intercultural Counsellor to develop a comprehensive action plan based on the new Intercultural Strategy 2021-2025. The action plan will be based on indicators from the Intercultural Index questionnaire and evaluation of the implementation of the Intercultural Strategy 2018-2020. The appointment provided a basis for cross-departmental collaboration between the social affairs department and other municipal departments such as the cultural, urban and technical planning departments, but also external stakeholders (business and employer organizations, youth, migrant NGOs, labour unions, diplomatic representations etc).