Intercultural Cities: Why and how to join
Why join Intercultural cities
Over 140 Cities across Europe and beyond (Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Morocco and the United States) are now embracing the principles of intercultural integration and using the Intercultural cities tools. Cities participating in the Intercultural cities programme enjoy the advice of leading international experts and privileged access to the Intercultural cities tools, and engage in intensive exchanges with other cities through thematic events and study visits. Member cities benefit from the international exposure and credibility of the Council of Europe.
The Intercultural cities network, one of the main tools of the ICC programme, is most suitable for cities of at least 30 000 inhabitants with a significant level of diversity (but smaller cities may be admitted too), whose leadership is strongly committed to making diversity an advantage in city-making and who are ready to invest political capital, time and resources in the programme.
How to join the network
Candidate cities first express official interest in joining the Intercultural cities programme (a letter or email by the Mayor or another high-level representative). Then the city and the Council of Europe sign a statement of intent which makes membership official. This is followed by the completion of the Intercultural Cities Index questionnaire to get the assessment of their policies through an analytical report on the results with examples of good practice from other cities. The analysis of the questionnaire and the preparation of the report require a minimum of 8 weeks.
Following this, an expert visit takes place (at least 1 expert and a Council of Europe representative) to meet city officials and a wide range of local stakeholders in order to confirm INDEX results and make an in-depth “diagnosis" of the city’s achievements and needs in relation to intercultural policies and governance. The visit results in a report (intercultural profile) which is the basis of subsequent work with the city.
What do member cities do?
Following the accession process, member cities set up an intercultural support group and start the process of reviewing different urban policies from an intercultural perspective, re-shaping them and integrating them into a comprehensive policy strategy. Detailed guidelines for this process are provided in the Step-by-step Guide to Buidling the Intercultural City.
The cities are encouraged to involve citizens broadly in the strategy development process, in identifying indicators for success, monitoring progress and implementation. A methodological guide for this work is available, as well as excellent moderators/advisers.
In order to support this process, the Council of Europe provides experts and facilitators for the policy discussions within the city. To motivate and help city officials and other local stakeholders learn from the experience of other cities, it organises (and funds, including travel/subsistence for city delegates) thematic workshops and study visits. High-level meetings are also organised for the city leaders to exchange and manifest/reinforce their commitment.
What are the costs for member cities?
Members contribute 5000€ a year towards the administrative costs of the programme. The rest of the expenses (index analysis, expertise, international meetings and visits) are covered by the Council of Europe within the limits of its available resources for European cities. For non-European cities, the costs of expert visits (travel and subsistence of the CoE representative and the expert) and international travel for network events are also to be borne by the city.