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EPIC Focus Group – The impact of the pandemic on migration and local responses across nice cities

Published on 19/06/2020

Coinciding with the Refugee Week, a key moment to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world, EPIC organised 3 focus groups with the representatives from local authorities and NGOs participating in the project. The sessions were led by Dr. Giovanna Astolfo, lecturer at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) of the University College London, and partner in charge of the baseline analysis of the EPIC project, supported by Dolinda Cavallo, project coordinator. 

While the virus has created a ‘portal’ that opens up a new space to relate to others and many advocates for a global politics of solidarity and care, what does this mean for a migrant? What is the ‘right to health’ for a refugee in the midst of lockdown? To what extent has the crisis invisibilised or visibilised migrant lives? Why has migration suddenly disappeared from public discourse just to reappear shortly after to reinforce the importance of migrants as labourers? Why is there an increased competition over jobs and housing between premium and non premium population while the media are talking about global solidarity? What is the missing link between care and human rights in European migration?

These are some of the questions discussed in a series of conversations that brought together twenty between NGOs and local municipalities dealing with the impact of covid, touching upon affective and emotional labour, food and shelter provision, political participation and right to the city.

The aim of the focus groups was to discuss existing practices of migrant integration collectively with partners in each case city, and to share challenges faced, lessons learned and what the needs are for their territory. 

The output from the focus groups will also be a critical element in determining how to carry out the ‘match-making’ phase thanks to which EPIC partners will engage in 𝐩𝐞𝐞𝐫-𝐭𝐨-𝐩𝐞𝐞𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐬 based on mutual priorities and different expertise. With that new knowledge, they will test and integrate new efficient practices within their local policies during and after the 𝟖 𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐢𝐥𝐨𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬 EPIC will carry out.

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