Botkyrka – European best practice

2 juli 2013

Jimmy-Almedalen-2013-aI Almedalen, Visby, i år lanserade Botkyrka kommun idén med ”Norra Europas första Unesco-center” som vi jobbat med ett tag tillsammans med bl.a. Eskilstuna och Malmö kommuner.

Vid ett av seminariepassen deltog Nazia Hussein, director, At Home in Europe, Open Society Foundations och Paul Lappalainen, diskrimineringsombudsmannen samt scientific advisor, ECCAR.

Här nedan publicerar jag mitt anförande som innehåller några delar av vad som gör Botkyrka till ett European Best Practice:

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Welcome. I am Jimmy Baker, the 2nd deputy mayor in Botkyrka.

Botkyrka is one of the fastest growing municipalities in our region, Stockholm, and one of the fastest growing in Sweden, with more than 87 000 citizens.

Botkyrka is a very diverse municipality, more than half of our population has an immigrant background.

One thing that separates us from most other municipalities, is that we have citizens with roots in more than 160 countries.

This makes Botkyrka the most international and diverse municipality in Sweden.

And we keep getting more diverse, more and more persons, including immigrants, choose Botkyrka as their new home.

Therefore, we have been working for numerous years now with efforts to include all our citizens in our society.

We believe that we have been quite successful so far, even though, there is more to be done of course.

Botkyrka is the only Swedish municipality that is a member of the European Council’s ICC-network – Inter Cultural Cities.

And, true successful cities and societies will be intercultural in the future, and the ICC-network gives us the possibilities to work together with other cities so that we can take advantage of their experiences.

We are a member of ECCAR – the European Coalitiion of Cities Against Racism.

We have agreed to work with ECCAR’s 10 point action plan which consists of:

– Challanging racism and discrimination

– Fair access to housing

– Equal opportunities

– Promoting cultural diversity

– Ways of working with hate crimes and conflict management

Among other things.

In Botkyrka we also support a local Anti Discrimination Bureau – ”Antidiskrimineringsbyrån SIOS”, and we are also in discussion with them, not just to work with our citizens, but also the municipality employees.

Just recently we have started an Anti-Rumors-Network, where we gather municipal officials, civil servants, NGO’s, associations and youth’s.

And, since a year ago, we have started to work together with the Open Society Foundstion, as part of our effort to establish the first UNESCO-center in northern Europe – which we hope will be a reality in the near future.

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