Municipal Policy on Diversity and Inclusion
(Source: City of Geneva. Photo credits: N. Ackermann)
With 20,000 new people arriving in the city each year and 48% of the population that does not have Swiss nationality, Geneva is a place of discussions, meetings and sometimes friction. It’s a common living space where a public policy to recognize diversity and fight against discrimination and stereotypes makes sense (See Geneva Intercultural profile). Community authorities intend to make diversity a strength and an advantage on which to build this common living space. From this perspective of social inclusiveness and citizen participation that Geneva’s administrative council adopted, in November 2009, motion M- 781 titled “In Support of the Implementation of an Integration Policy for Foreigners.” In response to city council’s motion, the city’s administrative council decided to implement a public policy that makes respect for the diversity of all the city’s inhabitants as one of its highest priorities.
Mission and objectives
The policy mission is sixfold:
1. To be a welcoming city : Geneva has a welcoming and systematic orientation policy that lets residents know first and foremost that they are welcome.
2. To be a participatory city : Geneva actively encourages open citizenship in which very quickly, each person contributes to living together and takes part in serving their city.
3. To be an accessible city : Geneva has an accessibility policy concerning public municipal services. In the interest of fairness, it aims to attenuate obstacles (primarily administrative and linguistic obstacles) that residents may face.
4. To be a non-discriminatory city : Geneva’s policy actively fights preconceived notions, stereotypes and discrimination of all kinds. It has developed public actions in this regard and supports the efforts of third-party institutions and associations.
5. To be a city that listens : Geneva is conscious of the fact that migratory flow scan create movements of downturn and rejection, and it pays careful attention to these expressions of discontent and has developed a policy of listening and awareness.
6. To be a responsible city : As an institution and service provider, Geneva has committed to a staffing policy that reflects our city’s diversity and that gives its collaborators the tools they need to feel at ease in a complex environment and best serve a diverse public.
- Creation of an interdepartmental coordination group that is responsible for implementing the diversity policy. The group is called the Geneva Diversity Network and is in charge of implementing the city’s diversity policy and reporting to the administrative council.
- Mobilizing the Department of Culture and Sports, which has committed to facilitating maximum access to cultural and sports events for Geneva’s immigrant populations.
- Development communication that is adapted to non-native language speakers by the municipal administration. A number of administrative and promotional documents were translated into the languages most frequently spoken in Geneva.
- Inplementing French language groups in municipal libraries to offer French language workshops, in collaboration with the city’s Community Action Units, the Geneva Canton Foreigners’ Integration Bureau and the Geneva Workers’ University.
- Developing a prototype kit for learning French using the museum’s spaces and collections.
- Implementing large bazaars organized by the Geneva Ethnography Museum the first Sunday of each month on the theme of inclusiveness and welcoming different communities.
- Implementing the Inside-Outside Project, a participatory project supported by the Grandur Foundation for Youth. The Inside-Outside Project consists of creative workshops for children.
- Developing specific actions for asylum immigrants. In this process, which takes into account three out of six points of the municipal policy (being a welcoming, accessible and non discriminatory city), the following actions were retained:
- Creating the Union of Swiss Cities working group around integration policies.
- Developing a national action plan to fight radicalization and extremism between now and the second half of 2017.
- Making the Red Cross Day Centre available to refugees.