Making Social Cohesion Work for Everyone: What can we learn from development interventions on how to promote inclusion and reduce xenophobia?
Concerns that xenophobia and discrimination are on the rise have sparked a panoply of investments in promoting social cohesion and combatting prejudice against people on the move. These concerns are particularly acute in the wake of rising forced displacement and a global pandemic that triggered widespread scapegoating of migrants, and whose economic devastation may further fray the social fabric of communities.
Governments, NGOs and international organizations have called for new ideas to harness solidarity and reduce conflict, and these ideas have featured prominently in the Global Compact on Migration (objectives 16, 17, and 21). Yet not enough is known on what actually works to reduce prejudice and mitigate social tensions, especially as so few interventions—from digital campaigns to community-building interventions—have been rigorously evaluated. The stakes are increasingly high, as existing evidence suggests that not all contact is equally positive, and what works in one setting may fall flat or even backfire in another. This side event aims to spark a much needed, practical dialogue around “what works” to promote feelings of trust and blunt tensions and prejudice before they take root.