On June 1-3, 2016 The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH hosted the Integration Strategy Group in Istanbul with an interdisciplinary group of approximately 20 Moroccan, Turkish, and German officials and non-government stakeholders from the migration policy field.
Over the course of two days, participants discussed new integration realities in all three countries and focused in particular on the role of the municipal level in integration policy making, as well as possible forms of cooperation between different actors on the local level, including civil society, the private sector an sessions took place under the Chatham House Rule. The meeting also included site visits to local community centers in Istanbul who provide access and advices to refugees regarding basic social services, access to health and education, as well as psychosocial support and language courses.
The Integration Strategy Group is based on the premise that human mobility to all three countries will continue and that integration and inclusion practices are needed. Successful integration practices promote trust between migrants and receiving societies and create inclusive societies based on mutual understanding. The integration and inclusion of different migrant groups can greatly facilitate economic exchange, development and growth opportunities and creates the basis for social stability. On the other hand, the non-integration of immigrants, refugees and return migrants can lead to greater social, economic and political friction, potentially hindering economic development and fostering instable security situations. While Morocco, Turkey, and Germany face different sets of issues related to migration and integration, each country is in transition and must meet the challenge of creating integrated and inclusive societies.