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Repository of Practices

Inclusive Cities, Solidarity Communities 

Primary GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2019 - 2022

Type of practice


Geographic scope


Sub Regions:


Colombia: Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cucuta and Villa del Rosario; Ecuador: Quito and Manta; Peru: Lima; Panama: Panama City; The Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo; Trinidad and Tobago: Chaguanas


Given the impact of Venezuelan migration on the cities of Latin America and the Caribbean, the European Union decided to support the strategic alliance between UNHCR, IOM, and UN-Habitat for the project “Inclusive Cities, Solidarity Communities” (ICCS). The project seeks to implement innovative actions from a perspective that incorporates attention to and the protection of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, medium and long-term socioeconomic integration, migratory governance, and inclusive, sustainable urban development. Currently, the project is underway in nine pilot cities in six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Colombia: Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cucuta and Villa del Rosario; Ecuador: Quito and Manta; Peru: Lima; Panama: Panama City; The Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo; Trinidad and Tobago: Chaguanas).

The project promotes an innovative urban-territorial focus that addresses existing vulnerabilities in a holistic and inclusive manner. This facilitates the materialization of opportunities that result from migration in the medium and long-term, allowing for the construction of diverse and solidarity communities. Such opportunities also include the development of more prosperous and inclusive cities, all under the universal principle of the “right to the city” as a framework for the common good. Thus, the action of the project reaches the following five expected results:

• Local governments are better informed and prepared to handle the transition and arrival of refugee and migrant groups in vulnerable situations.

• Inclusion of migration and asylum-related challenges and opportunities in urban strategies and planning.

• Social cohesion and conflict prevention promoted between host communities and refugees/migrants.

• Strengthened local governments capacity to respond to the specific needs and challenges faced by refugees and migrants, and the inclusion of Civil Society Organizations (CSO), private sector and relevant stakeholders in ensuring transparency and inclusion of host communities in decision making.

• Knowledge and best-practices are widely disseminated across the region, targeting cities and stakeholders outside the core selected for this project and fostering a wider community of practice and solidarity.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

Detailed Information

UNHCR, IOM, UN Habitat

Partner/Donor Organizations

Local governments:
Colombia: Municipalities of Villa del Rosario, San José de Cúcuta, Bucaramanga, and Barranquilla
Ecuador: Quito and Manta
Peru: Lima and Surquillo
Santo Domingo: Santo Domingo and Boca Chica
Civil society:
Venezolanos en Bocachica
Centro de Investigación de Arquitectura y la Ciudad
Fundación de las Américas
Venezolanos en San Cristóbal
Lima Cómo Vamos
Quinta Ola
ChamCivil socieas en Acción
Ayuda en Acción
Coalición Por Venezuela
Corporación Humor y Vida

Benefit and Impact

The project transcends the context of humanitarian aid and simultaneously generates a nexus with factors regarding the integration of refugee and migrant populations that have the desire to remain permanently in host communities, with special attention paid to the specific needs of women and differently abled individuals. The technical assistance is intended to serve as a pilot with a multiscale reach on three levels:

1. National level, aiming to strengthen the legal frameworks and inclusive public policies of the state for refugees and migrants, for instance, with the support of the national governments of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru in the formulation and review of strategic policies related with urban development, housing, and human mobility.

2. City level, aiming to strengthen and join the local level in the formulation of strategic actions to promote territorial prosperity and integrate human mobility, with the following impacts:
7 local governments across the region count with a baseline to measure the demands and impacts of human mobility in their territories (Human mobility profiles).
9 local governments across the region count with an assessment of local policies with a human mobility integration scope and recommendations to improve the local planning and legal framework.
5 local governments across the region count with a territorial information system that support strategic decision-making towards the inclusion of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.
2 local governments of target cities have received technical assistant in the formulation of strategic planning instruments aiming to mitigate the gaps in the access to rights of vulnerable refugees, migrants, and host communities.
Capacities of Local officials of 9 cities across the region related to human mobility and its integration in urban areas have been fostered. 80% of them have expressed satisfaction during the training and the acquisition of new knowledge.
Local governments of target cities across the region have benefited from exercises to share best practices from their territories regarding actions for the integration of refugees and migrants.

3. Community level, aiming to formulate and implement social cohesion and spatial interventions to promote the integration of refugees, migrants, and host communities at the neighborhood level (into pilot territories at target cities), with the following impacts:
Around 50 entrepreneurs in target cities have been supported to open their own business.
Around 61.260 refugees, migrants, and host communities in target cities of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic were beneficiaries of multi-purpose direct monetary transfers.
Since 2019, the project has implemented multiple antixenophobia campaigns across the region with around 22 million impressions on social networks.
Around 1.800 refugees, migrants, and members of host communities of target cities participate from social, cultural and habitat improve.

Key Lessons

Among the main challenges, the COVID-19 impact on national and local governments is highlighted, as well as on refugees, migrants, and vulnerable host communities. Due to confinement and lockdown measures and social distancing, activities carried out with communities were limited to virtual activities. Thus, the project considered, as a strategy for 2020, to prioritize the development of instruments and tools for local and national governments aiming to support strategic decision-making regarding the differentiated needs of refugees, migrants, and host communities. Moreover, the project implemented virtual trainings with local governments officials to sensibilize about human mobility topics and promote an integrated approach when responding to Venezuelan refugees' and migrants' needs for integration.

On the other hand, another strategic challenge that the project faced was the lack of georeferenced information regarding refugees and migrants. Thus, one of the innovations of the project was to propose a territorial approach where not only the refugee's and migrants' needs (socioeconomic and spatial needs) are considered for their integration but also where those needs are located, thereby aiming to implement a holistic approach to respond to them and promote medium-and-long-term integration. In this framework, the project is proposing alternative methods to identify the territorial needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, one of them is the implementation of co-creation workshops that aim to identify territorial demands at the community level and community actions to tackle these demands. Moreover, the project proposes the development of a territorial assessment (surveys) that collected primary information of the territory and allow to identify the location of refugees and migrants (surveys implemented on their current dwellings), how they are accessing fundamental rights (housing, employment, health, education, transport, recreation, participation), and the differentials that Venezuelan refugees and migrants present in the territory in contrast with host communities.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Taking into consideration the action of the Inclusive Cities, Communities of Solidarity project, among the main elements for the sustainability and success of the actions is the link with community organizations (from refugees, migrants, and host communities) and the support of local governments. Regarding the first one, the ICCS project has shown a stronger action in territories with organized communities that are able to receive support, strengthen their internal structure, and transformed into a local development strategy. Thus, the action of the project is catalyzed and adopted by communities, guaranteeing its sustainability and impact on the medium and long term.

On the other hand, the project has shown that political commitment is now a “must-have” asset to propose medium-and-long-term approaches. The local governments have the greatest knowledge of territorial dynamics, as well as ongoing projects to which international efforts could articulate and catalyze the impact. Moreover, local governments can transform pilot actions of inclusion into a guideline for local policies, plans, and programs that present a multi-sectoral approach for the integration of refugees and migrants.


This project promoted medium and long-term integration of vulnerable communities, including refugees, migrants, and host communities. This aims to provide spaces located in vulnerable neighborhoods where opportunities and solutions to local challenges could be collectively created by the community while strengthening local capabilities, promoting participation, strengthening community ties, and making visible to host communities the value that migration could bring to the territory towards equal access to prosperity. Considering this approach, one of the actions advised by the ICCS project is the construction and implementation of an IntegrHa-bitat Centre as a place to integrate the community of the TIU (R&M and host communities), to co- create, innovate and provide services and orientation to public, and support the territorial development. This innovative activity promoted the generation of peaceful coexistence environments based on community cinema methodologies through the involvement of youth form both, refugee, and host communities.
Further information about IntegrHa-bitat could be found in the ICCS web platform:


Historia de Estefany- Ciudades Incluyentes

Date submitted:

31 March 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).