Migration and Social Cohesion Action Plan (2020-2024)

The project in brief

Implemented by

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM)




September 2019 - Ongoing

The Action Plan is prepared to be rolled out between 2020 and 2024. 


Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) has prepared a strategy plan that was developed through a participatory process in order to produce an effective and permanent policy in migration governance. A people-oriented strategy with the perspective of leaving no one behind has been prepared to be implemented in 2020-2024. In the scope of the strategy, 4 main objectives have been determined: coordination, capacity building, research and data collection, social cohesion.

The policy of the IMM Migration Unit is shaped within the framework of this strategy. In this direction, transformations are carried out that will pave the way for vulnerable groups to benefit from all municipal services.

Project aims 

Production and implementation of an impactful migration governance strategy with a participatory policy. Determining the priorities for refugees and migrants to access to municipal services and enhancing the quality of services.

Resources used 

  • Harmonization Strategy Document and National Action Plan of Presidency of Migration Management
  • Law for Metropolitan Municipalities 13th Clause
  • Citizenship Law
  • Law on Foreigners and International Protection
  • Variety of institutions working in the field of migration
  • Support of International Organisations

Main activities of the Good Practice

  • Preliminary Meetings: Meetings were held with the partners in the field, focusing on needs analysis and solution proposals. In this direction, first of all, interviews were held with non-governmental organizations working in the field. Then, the areas of intervention needed were determined with the district municipalities.
  • Advisory Committee: In line with the meetings, a migration advisory board was established. Regular meetings were held with this advisory board so that the municipality could produce applicable and effective policies.
  • Workshop and Action Plan: In December 2019, the Migration and Integration Action Plan workshop was held. District municipalities, national and international non-governmental organizations, international donor institutions, academics, self-organizations and representatives of public institutions attended the workshop.
  • Migration Unit: To a better implementation of the strategy, a Migration Unit was established under the Directorate of the Social Services with support of UNHCR. The unit started to work with the focus of increasing the service quality and inclusiveness of municipal services by following a policy within the framework of the offered strategy. In the upcoming period, it is planned that the unit will continue and expand its activities as the Directorate of Migration and Harmonization Policies.


There were 123 participants involved in the formulation of the migration and integration strategy plan. These participants consist of district municipalities, national and international NGOs, international donor institutions, academics, self-organizations and public representatives.

Challenges and how they were overcome


  1. Lack of any increase in the transfers which the municipalities receive from central government to meet the increase in their expenses arising from the surge in the size of their population (According to the legal framework in Turkey, allocations to be transferred from the central government to municipalities are calculated on the basis of the population, referring only to citizens and making no allowance for the additional refugee populations. This means that municipalities do not get any extra budget to provide services to refugees and migrants, since there is no special financial allowance for refugees within the allocated budget from the central government which is the major revenue sources of municipalities).
  2. Discriminative approaches and hate speeches
  3. Negative attitude of local community against refugees and migrants
  4. Uncertainty in the legislation regarding responsibilities of municipalities to refugees and migrants
  5. The lack of age, gender, socio economic profile data breakdown on the basis of districts and neighbourhoods in the field of refugees and migration
  6. The lack of any study and work for refugees and migration policy by IMM in the past, apart from a few irregular humanitarian aids in the field of migration.

How they were overcome

  • Building cooperation and fundraising from international organizations
  • Information dissemination on migration legislation and rights-based advocacy
  • Increasing social cohesion and co-existence practices
  • Close contacts with public institutions and advocacy work

Results of the Good Practice 

  • The access of municipal services of host and refugee communities has raised
  • The municipal services became more inclusive
  • The quality of municipal serviced has raised
  • The employee of the IMM raised awareness on migration issue and protection regulations
  • Establishment of services

How the project meets the GCR Objectives

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

The strategy offers to the refugees as well as host community better municipal services and promotes social cohesion and co-existence practises.

Next steps 

The activity and interventions will continue accordingly.

Further support required for the project to continue or scale up

Maintaining and increasing cooperation on migration governance.



Submitted by: 

Papatya Bostancı, Expert, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Migration and Harmonization Policy Directorate, Turkey

[email protected]