Barzani Charity Foundation and Ishik University held a joint symposium under the title “Fostering Social Cohesion: A New Phase of Humanitarian Work in the Kurdistan Region”. The symposium took place on October 7, 2018, in Ishik University in Erbil. It was aimed at finding the approaches to strengthening the cohesion between the host population and the refugee and IDP community in the Kurdistan Region.
The BCF Head Musa Ahmed delivered a speech at the conference, highlighting the importance of collaboration between the academic institutions and the humanitarian organizations for achieving better and more effective results in the area of the humanitarian response.
The symposium was comprised of two sessions during which six speakers from both parties — the BCF and Ishik University, delivered different presentations revolving around the social cohesion among internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, host community and the minority groups in the Kurdistan Region.
In a press conference at the end of the symposium, a number of recommendations were released to be considered by the international and local organizations and the government institutions. The following are the recommendations of the symposium:
- Scientific research be improved in social cohesion-related areas at the general societal level and particularly, within the humanitarian context. This is aimed at contributing to official efforts in policy-making to improve social cohesion.
- Factors that contribute to undermining social cohesion be identified and efforts be made to mitigate their implication on social cohesion in the Region. these factors could include but not limited to the following:
- Obstacles before active economic participation of members of all three communities (the host, refugee and IDP)
- To improve public services and infrastructure that are currently under large-scale constraint due to a sudden and dramatic increase of population in the Kurdistan Region to the arrival of large numbers of refugees and IDPs. These services include health, water, sanitation, education, roads and traffic
- Urgent improvement in the housing and construction sectors
- More attention to be given to the issue of social cohesion in the education and learning sector at all levels
- Local and national humanitarian organizations give priority to projects that aimed at improving social cohesion in the society
- We urge the international community in general, the relevant UN agencies, international and local NGOs to assist affected individuals and communities from the minorities within Iraq/the Kurdistan Region to encourage them to remain in their historical homeland instead of assisting them to leave the country
- Further collaboration between civil society organizations, university and reputable research and academic centres with the aim of improving social cohesion in the Kurdistan Region in general and in the humanitarian context in particular
- Introduction of long-term educational policies by KRG’s Ministry of Education addressing social policy in the Kurdistan Region
- Improving a culture of coexistence and tolerance within the religious facilities of all major communities in the Kurdistan Region