Latest News!!

Nordic politicians look to EU for border solutions


Nordiske-flag“Nordic politicians want to reinstate passport-free travel between their countries, but rather than proposing regional solutions, most argue that nothing can be done until the EU solves the migrant crisis.”

Read the full article at the EU Observer.

EU asylum applications from unaccompanied children in 2015 increase 303% from 2014

The news come from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

hqdefaultOver the past six months, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been aggregating unpublished statistics from the 17 European governments (15 member states + Norway and Switzerland) in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture detailing the scale of migration among unaccompanied minors during last year’s refugee crisis.

You can find all the date in the Bureau’s Infographic

Overcrowding in refugee housing now an issue

downloadAn Associated Press survey has found that at least three of Germany’s 16 states have lowered their requirements for refugee shelters, including for the minimum amount of space given to each refugee. Six states had no minimum requirements or said it was up to inspectors to approve conditions on a case-by-case basis.

Read more here.

UK to take in up to 3,000 vulnerable child refugees

By Lizzie Dearden.

download (1)The UK is to take in up to 3,000 more child refugees after months of calls to help the youngest and most vulnerable migrants risking their lives to reach safety.The Government hailed the programme, which will come on top of a previous pledge to welcome 20,000 Syrians, as one of the world’s largest resettlement programme for children.

Read the full article from The Independent here.

Stay tuned for our next posts! We will refresh the Latest News every 15 days. Contact us if you want specific content.

andreia fidalgoAndreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

The IFHP Housing Academy

IFHP seeks cities to become partners of the the Housing Academy

Public space 6 (by Spectral-Design)

Cities are in transition due to many drivers: changing demographics, changing housing patterns, platform economy to mention some. Cities are being challenged and with these challenges comes great potential to innovate, to accelerate developments and rethink the city and housing provision. It is a chance to take advantage of the urgency to solve other contemporary issues/pressing issues like the general lack of affordable housing stock and developing social inclusive cities

About IFHP Housing Academy

What is it?
The IFHP Housing Academy aims to gather the relevant urban professionals throughout 2016 -17 to rethink the accessibility of the housing market for vulnerable groups in the hosting European cities. The IFHP Housing Academy has a network with more than 50 professionals engaged in working daily on this topic. It is about turning a house into a home and a combination of housing, integration, connectivity and social coherence.

The aim of the programme is to develop a plan and find solutions to a selected concrete case in the host city. Local and international experts and professionals join forces and can skip corners due to the interactive process in which we will meet, work, share and learn. The combination of working together and learning is the core of the activity; The Academy.

The partner cities both host an implementation lab and travel to visit the other partner cities to participate in their labs. All labs are also joined by a group of international, relevant, selected experts and professionals. They will bring with them a critical understanding of the policies and practices around Europe which will be matched with the local expertise and knowledge.
>>Download the folder IFHP Housing Academy!

Interested in more information about the IFHP Housing Academy and a detailed budget? Please contact:

>>Huibert Haccou, IFHP Council member and chair of the IFHP Housing Refugee, +31 653544764
>>Christina Krog, IFHP senior project manager,, +45 22909105

Alexander Betts: Our refugee system is failing. Here’s how we can fix it.

This post is based on the TED Talk given by Alexander Betts, on February 2016. Alexander Betts is the Leopold Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, and the Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. You can read more about him in his personal page.

“There are times when I feel really quite ashamed to be a European. In the last year, more than a million people arrived in Europe in need of our help, and our response, frankly, has been pathetic.”

Alexander Betts, TED Talk February 2016.

In the first part of his presentation, Alexander Betts, reflects on several contradictions, e.g. “refugees are a shared responsibility, and yet we accept that tiny Lebanon hosts more Syrians than the whole of Europe combined” concluding with two simple questions: What are we doing? How did we reach this point?

The answer is simple. This crisis reflects a lack of vison from our politicians, a vision for how to adapt an international refugee system (with more than 50 years) to a changing and globalized world. To explain, Alexander Betts elaborates on why is the current system not working and what we can do to fix it.

Why is the current system not working?

The actual system was created after WWII to ensure that when a state fails, or worse, turns against its own people, people have somewhere to go, to live in safety and dignity until they can go home. However, today, our immigration policies block the path to safety keeping people stuck in almost indefinite limbo. He explains that, it is not because the rules of the system are wrong, but because we have not been able to adapt them to today’s reality.

From a refugee standpoint there are three main options: go to a camp (with all the restrictions that a camp implies); go to an urban area in a neighboring country (where they are likely to face urban destitution); or seek hope by risking their lives on a dangerous and perilous journey to another country (happening in Europe today). Encampment, urban destitution or a dangerous journey?

Alexander says that these are not the only three existing choices. However, they seem to be, because politicians believe that if we “benefit” refugees, we are “imposing costs” on citizens, and therefore we tend to have a collective assumption that refugees are an inevitable cost or burden to our societies. Which is not true.

What can we do to fix it?

It is possible to expand the number of choices and still benefit everyone else – the host states and communities, and the refugees’ themselves – by taking advantage of the opportunities globalization, mobility and the markets offer, and update the way we think about refugees. Alexander proposes four ways to achieve that:

Enabling environments. This means starting by recognizing that refugees are human beings like everyone else, though they are in extraordinary circumstances. Rather than seeing refugees as inevitably dependent upon humanitarian assistance, we need to provide them with opportunities for human flourishing. Meaning giving them equal opportunities (the right to work, freedom of movement, etc.).

Economic zones. An economic zone in which we could potentially integrate the employment of refugees alongside the employment of host nationals.

Preference matching between states and refugees. The economist Alvin Roth has developed the idea of matching markets, ways in which the preference ranking of the parties shapes an eventual match. The idea is the same but applied to refugees. Ask refugees to rank their preferred destinations and allow states to rank the types of refugees they want (based on skills criteria or language criteria), and allow those to match.

Humanitarian visas. If refugees could just travel directly and seek asylum in Europe, we would avoid dangerous journeys and smugglers. Through a humanitarian visa that people could collect at an embassy or a consulate in a neighboring country and then simply pay his or her own way through a ferry or a flight to Europe, these situations could be avoid.

These are just four ideas/ways in which we can have greater choices for refugees beyond those basic three: encampment, urban destitution and dangerous journeys.

“Yes, they are a humanitarian responsibility, but they are human beings with skills, talents, aspirations, with the ability to contribute, if we let them.[…] Not based on the old logics of humanitarian assistance, not based on logics of charity, but building on the opportunities offered by globalization, markets and mobility.”

Alexander Betts, TED Talk February 2016.

andreia fidalgo
Andreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.