Intercultural Cities: Why and How to join?
Why join Intercultural cities
Over 130 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
Ideally, candidate cities would first complete 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. If both parties are satisfied, a statement of intent is signed for the participation in the programme, followed by the signature of a financial agreement (see below).
However, due to the high number of membership requests, priority will be given to the analysis of Index questionnaires submitted by cities that have signed the statement of intent at the time of the submission of the questionnaires.
Besides, 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 (which is under review in 2018-2019).
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.