Valuing diversity means addressing diversity positively and putting policies and processes in place to maximise its potential. The diversity advantage approach is a way of governing, managing and decision-making, based on the idea that diversity can become a key opportunity and resource for the overall development of society. The basic idea is that it is possible to achieve more positive results with diversity than without it, when diversity is managed correctly.



  1. Planning for positive impact
  2. Diversifying decision-making
  3. Promoting diverse participation
  4. Encouraging others to maximise the diversity advantage
  5. International outlook

New to the topic? Take a look at the description of the indicators and an introduction to the intercultural principle of valuing diversity.

 Download the checklist: in English | in Portuguese

Indicator 1/5: Planning for positive impact

The diversity advantage is a way of governing, managing and decision-making. To maximise its benefits a city or team needs to embrace the concept from the beginning of their work on a particular policy or practice. We need to ensure that it is part of the team’s planning, monitoring and evaluation of a project or policy as well as being an integral part of promoting it.


1. Does the project take account of the diversity advantage from the planning stage? This is the case if:

  • There is input from diverse stakeholders.
  • There are elements of co-design including with those most affected by the project.
  • There are activities promoting the diversity advantage in your or others’ work.
  • There are criteria for valuing diversity in the planning, briefing, monitoring, evaluation and reporting criteria.
  • There are specific funds for promotion of the diversity advantage in your budget.

0/5 points


2. If an evaluation of the project is planned, will it help improve how the city values diversity in future? This is the case if:

  • The evaluation helps identify effects of the project on diverse members of the community.
  • Diverse members of the community, particularly any target groups, are included the evaluation process.
  • It helps evaluate which members of the community, if any, were unintentionally not represented or unable to access the project.
  • The evaluation considers smaller groups within communities who may have additional barriers to access the project and its benefits.
  • If relevant, there are criteria for partners and other stakeholders to consider diversity in their evaluation.
  • The evaluation process provides space to look at qualitative examples of any diversity advantage elements of the project.
  • If the city staff has undertaken training on diversity or valuing diversity, the results have been included in the evaluation.

0/7 points


Before you move on....

You could consider if it is still possible to involve additional aspects into the project, which have not yet been addressed or included. If this is no longer possible, the principle is good to be kept in mind moving forward. Taking this principle into account from the start in the future will set a strong foundation for any project moving forward.

Want to learn from your peers? Take a look at these good practice examples from member cities in the Intercultural Cities network. You will for example learn how Geneva (Switzerland) evaluated their diversity policy.

Indicator 2/5: Diversifying decision-making

The diversity advantage applies to the city’s team too. This means ensuring there is a diverse team, not just in terms of individuals, skills, or languages, but also in terms of the departments or services they engage with. If there is a department or individual in charge of diversity in your city or district, make sure they are included in the discussions.


3. Is the project team diverse? This is the case if

  • The project team includes diversity in terms of individual members as well as the departments and services that are engaged.
  • There are clear criteria for the consideration of inviting input from other departments and services.
  • There are procedures to ensure all team members feel equally welcome to express their views and that all views are considered.
  • Team members include some of the target group of the project or people with an expertise on the issues at hand.
  • There are opportunities for openness and risk-taking built into the project to help maximise the diversity advantage.

0/5 points


4. If your project involves external partners, have you engaged with a range of diverse external partners from different sectors and communities? This is the case if:

  • All viewpoints have been considered.
  • The city has considered if it would be possible to bring in new sectors which the city has not worked with before to ensure the broadest possible entry into the project.
  • The project reaches out to specific groups within communities who may be impacted.
  • The city has promoted potential involvement of the project to as wide a group of stakeholders as possible and in a wide range of media so that not just the ‘usual suspects’ are involved.
  • The guidelines and criteria for becoming a partner of the city are clear and accessible.

0/5 points


Before you move on....

Consider reviewing your project or policy again to see which other departments or services have relevant expertise and who could input into the process going forwards. You may wish to review how your team works and if there are ways you could make discussions about the project more inclusive. This may include, for example, holding meetings at a time when the maximum number of people can attend or giving plenty of notice so that those working part-time have time to prepare. You also could consider training team leaders in managing diverse teams. If your department or project team is not diverse in terms of the individuals involved, this may be an issue that is bigger than this project or area of work. More generally, cities may benefit from the policy brief and policy study on systemic discrimination that include interesting examples. It may also be interesting to consult the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Strategies for the Intercultural City and the Handbook on valuing religious communities as key actors of social cohesion. Finally, you may also wish to consider what advantages and new points of view that different external partners and sectors could bring.

Want to learn from your peers? Take a look at these good practice examples from member cities in the Intercultural Cities network. You will for example learn how Reykjavik (Iceland) developed intercultural training for their staff.

Indicator 3/5: Promoting diverse participation

The target groups or beneficiaries of intercultural cities policies and projects are often the city’s residents. When you use the diversity advantage approach you want to harness as many of their skills, talents, and ideas as possible, as well as taking their diverse needs into account when providing services. You can do this through participatory processes for designing, planning, and evaluating your work. You can also check what barriers there may be for residents to participate in or benefit from programmes and seek to minimise these.


5. Is your project or policy designed to maximise the participation of diverse city residents? This is the case if:

  • The city has a strategy for outreach to different groups and/or neighbourhoods.
  • There are clear criteria about the level of diversity expected.
  • Civil society organisations, citizens’ groups, neighbourhood or community groups or other grass roots organisations are involved to improve reach.
  • There are opportunities in the project for regular check-ins that the project is not leaving anyone behind.
  • The project reaches out to smaller groups within groups so that all voices are heard.
  • The project uses a range of communication means including different languages, and non-verbal communication like pictures and colours.
  • Information about the project is made available in ways that it can be perceived by people that are illiterate or have lower literacy skills.
  • The project or policy celebrates multilingualism and ensures as much as possible that those with different languages receive information they understand and can participate.

0/8 points


6. Have you considered what barriers there may be for different groups to participate in your policy and how to overcome them? This is the case if:

  • The project has considered barriers for physical accessibility/transportation.
  • The project has considered communication or linguistic barriers including skills needed in verbal expression or the language used (“expert” vs. “lay” language).
  • Interpretation is offered.
  • The project has considered if there is a lack of experience with participation in democratic processes amongst any groups.
  • The project has considered if meeting times clash with work obligations or times for picking up children from school etc.
  • Child-care is offered.
  • There is a diverse team of people leading the consultation including men and women and people from different backgrounds.
  • There is a variety of ways to input including in writing, verbally, by phone, in meetings, smaller meetings.
  • Individual or tailored assistance can be offered.

0/9 points


Before you move on...

You may wish to consider thinking again about your project and any opportunities to reach out to different groups of residents. If you are interested in learning more about multilingualism you could read our workshop report on multilingualism as a resource for cities or our policy brief on language policies for the intercultural city.

You may also be interested in this short video on inclusive communication.

Want to learn from your peers? Take a look at these good practice examples from member cities in the Intercultural Cities network. You will for example learn how the citizenship panel Leeds (United Kingdom) advice on important topics for the city.

Indicator 4/5: Encouraging others to maximise the diversity advantage

You also want to leverage your influence and knowledge to ensure that external partners adopt techniques that maximise the diversity advantage. Cities can play a role in influencing others to maximise the diversity advantage in many ways including through policies, partnerships, funding, and procurement. For example, diversity advantage criteria could be included in partnership agreements or in criteria for tenders. The diversity advantage may be particularly useful in a city’s work with the private sector, where they can interact in partnership to influence a wide variety of sectors in city life. Discussions of the diversity advantage therefore are needed in interactions with the private sector including with business leaders, migrant-owned businesses, chambers of commerce, sector groups, etc. This could be approached through presentations at events, hosting trainings and feedback sessions and through mainstreaming the concept in all city interactions with businesses. Again, it is important to engage a diversity of views and ideas.


7. Have you thought about how to encourage others to value diversity in your project partnerships? This is the case if:

  • The project has considered training for partners on valuing diversity or the diversity advantage.
  • The diversity advantage is promoted in brochures and materials on how partners can work with the city on this project.
  • If the private sector is involved in the project, the project has developed a strategy to ensure that private sector partners contribute to maximizing the diversity advantage.
  • Valuing diversity is part of the selection criteria for the awarding of procurement contracts.

0/4 points


8. Do you have a strategy for your project to promote the benefits of valuing diversity for all? This is the case if:

  • The diversity advantage of the project is included in its literature, webpage, social media, and other project materials.
  • City officials mention the diversity advantage of the project in presentations or meetings.
  • Diverse and community media are invited to press events and sent press releases linked to the project.
  • The project is planning to share project plans, activities and results with diverse media and others to connect with harder to reach groups of citizens.

0/4 points


Before you move on....

You may wish to consider our tools that provide information on business and diversity including diversity connectors for start-ups, tools for rating diversity in business and assessment tools for local governments supporting the design and implementation of economic policies consistent with the principles of equal treatment, integration and diversity management. The EU diversity charter may also be interesting in this context. With regards to communication, you may also wish to consider looking again at your communication strategy, or developing one if you have not done so. You could also look at the Council of Europe’s guidelines on community media. Finally, the policy brief Migration and integration – which narratives work and why, may also be of interest with regard to the narratives created.

Want to learn from your peers? Take a look at these good practice examples from member cities in the Intercultural Cities network. You will for example learn about the high-level working group established in Bergen (Norway) to increase migrant participation in employment and businesses.

Indicator 5/5: International outlook

The diversity advantage approach can bring your city additional benefits when it engages with and supports diaspora links with countries of origin as well as the potential of other languages that migrants or minorities may speak. A strong relationship with countries of origin of diaspora can help the city understand the geopolitical, cultural, and economic context in which newcomers have been socialised so it can shape its policies of welcome and integration accordingly. It can also support migrants in developing a sense of belonging to their new community, by giving a formal recognition their country of origin and their cultural identity.


9. Does your project engage with the diaspora links in your city or countries of origin? This is the case if:

  • The project recognises and celebrates the intercultural exchange diaspora links can bring.
  • The project has brought in added elements previously not thought of based on links with the diaspora.
  • The project harnesses the links between diaspora languages and other countries and cities to make closer links and develop ties.
  • The project involves or can be shared with sister and partner cities abroad or with the Intercultural Cities network.

0/4 points


10. Does the project promote equal rights to celebrations and cultural features and norms and see this as an opportunity and advantage as a true cosmopolitan city? This is the case if:

  • The project increases the knowledge of different groups within the community among city residents.
  • Cultural features or celebrations that take place among certain groups in the city enhance the project, increase meaningful interaction.
  • The project embraces different cultural features and norms and how they can enhance the project and its ability to attract support from investors or new visitors to the project events.
  • The project explores ways in which minority languages can be learned by majorities and not just the other way around to fully benefit from the advantages of a multilingual city.

0/4 points


Before you move on....

You may wish to consider some good practice from other cities in our database. It may be interesting to consult the document Parliamentary Network on Diaspora Policies from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and to consider if it would be possible to link with the diaspora in the project.

Want to learn from your peers? Take a look at these good practice examples from member cities in the Intercultural Cities network. You will for example learn about work with the diaspora in Reggio Emilia (Italy).