Athens Coordination Centre for Migrant and Refugee issues
Strengthening cooperation between the City of Athens and all the actors involved in protection and integration of migrants and refugees in the city
Since the beginning of 2015, with Greece’s unprecedented number of migrant and refugee arrivals fleeing conflict, the City of Athens has increasingly adopted a proactive approach towards developing strategies to address the needs of these vulnerable populations. In this context, the City of Athens undertook the initiative to establish the Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugee issues (ACCMR). The initiative aims at the efficient coordination between the municipal authorities and stakeholders operating within the city, such as national and international NGOs, international organizations, and migrant and refugee community groups. Our goal is to shape the necessary conditions for the smooth integration of migrants and refugees currently living in the city of Athens, but also for dealing with emergency situations linked with future migration flows. The ACCMR was established and has been operating since June 2017 with an exclusive grant from Stavros Niarchos Foundation under the “Migration and Refugees Coordination Center & Observatory" project and with the support of Athens Partnership which manages the implementation of the project. ACCMR operates within the framework of the Vice – Mayor’s Office for Migrants and Refugees.
ActivitiesThe ACCMR functions as a coordination hub for the fruitful exchange of experiences, good practices and ideas between local and international NGOs, international organizations and municipal bodies on issues ranging from temporary accommodation to integration of newcomers. The Center aims mainly to encourage the implementation of innovative projects which can lead to more efficient provision of services, while also liaising with potential donors for funding. In addition, a Strategic Action Plan for the smooth integration of migrants and refugees in the city, has been developed. Importantly, ACCMR in collaboration with key stakeholders is working to build a Preparedness Mechanism for effective contingency planning in the event of refugee-related emergencies. The Center liaises with other municipalities in order to exchange and transfer know-how and experience. ACCMR’s operation is organized around 5 Working Committees and one High Level Working Group, with the participation of both municipal and other actors involved in the provision of services to migrants and refugees, each focusing on a specific set of services (housing, employment, health, education, legal support), and all working towards defining a comprehensive service delivery system that takes into consideration the short-term and long-term goals of integration. The Center currently counts 85 members, while over 250 representatives of the members are actively involved in ACCMR’s operations.
Target GroupsLocal Authorities and State Agencies, NGOs, Policy Makers, Social Workers
KeywordsCapacity Building, Coordination, Integration, Local Government