As European leaders prepare to meet in Malta early next month, their search for means to reduce the number of boats departing the Libyan coast is becoming ever more desperate. In the year since the Valletta Summit, the European Union and Member State governments have ramped up cooperation with origin, transit, and hosting countries, yet questions remain over how effective these partnerships have been and how far they can be reasonably be pursued. Faced with mixed results thus far, there is a growing chorus calling for offshore processing for asylum seekers and greater efforts to bolster Libyan capacities in "pulling back" boats headed towards Europe.
In this context, discussions around longer-term interventions —notably the ability of humanitarian and development support to affect migration drivers— are less prominent. While policymakers discuss the pros and cons of making development aid conditional on third-country cooperation, less focus has been placed on effectively forecasting humanitarian and development needs, shaping successful policy interventions, and filling gaps in our existing knowledge about who, why, and when individuals decide to move.
In this webinar, experts assess how policymakers can best reflect on the lessons learned over the past year, align their objectives with the realities on the ground, and shape a longer-term agenda going forward.
World leaders gathered at the United Nations in September 2016 for an unprecedented summit focused on discussing major movements of refugees and migrants. This historic gathering, spurred in part by the massive asylum seeker and migrant flows to Europe in 2015, was intended to launch a strengthened global effort to coordinate responses to refugee and migration flows. The absence of concrete commitments in the resulting New York Declaration disappointed many observers.
During this Migration Policy Institute Europe event in Brussels, leading experts discussed how the slow progress on multilateral cooperation around migration evidenced in New York has particular salience for the European Union. Speakers included the European External Action Service’s Managing Director for Global Issues, the Director General for Asylum and Migration Policy in Sweden’s Ministry of Justice, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development’s Southern Dimension Director, and a key advisor to the UN Special Representative for Migration, in a discussion moderated by the Director of MPI Europe.
The discussants examined what lessons the European Union’s experience offers for the prospect of multilateral cooperation on migration at the global level? What implications might better global coordination have for cooperation within the European Union? And finally, is there a role for EU institutions, and the EU-28, to play in ensuring that the UN effort to strengthen global collaboration is concrete and meaningful?
In recent years, dramatic images of migration—struggling boats crammed dangerously beyond capacity; two sisters, champion swimmers, towing their foundering boat to safety; a little boy’s body lying face down in the sand—have seized worldwide attention and catapulted unauthorized maritime migration onto national and international policy agendas. Whether it is the overwhelming Mediterranean crisis or movements across the Bay of Bengal and the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, in the Caribbean, or around Australia, crisis has followed crisis, leaving almost intractable problems for policymakers. The challenges have only become more complex, widespread, and dangerous in recent years.
While the issues presented by unauthorized maritime migration are constantly evolving, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) provides analysis, in a book discussed at this event, on some common themes that have emerged over the past decade, along with practical recommendations. This book, All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration, is based on case studies of unauthorized movements by sea in several parts of the world. This book discussion explores the different facets of maritime migration—the multiple state and nonstate actors; the mixed flows of refugees and other migrants; the overlapping and sometimes contradictory legal regimes; fluctuating state policies; the secondary movements of people from countries of first asylum; the constantly shifting sources, routes, and destinations; and the inter-relatedness with other equally complex problems—and how these together create a “wicked problem” for governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations to tackle together.
As record numbers of refugees and migrants undertake journeys across the Mediterranean, policymakers are faced with the challenging tasks of receiving, protecting, and integrating new arrivals—at every stage of their migration journey—while maintaining public confidence in an increasingly immigration-skeptic climate.
This second session, in an event co-organized by the Migration Policy Institute during September 2016 in New York, examines what is known about promising approaches to settle and integrate newcomers, including the links between development and stability in the region and integration, and how to garner support for these policies in host communities. The session also examines what drives complex public reactions to immigration, and how policymakers and civil society can innovate to combat xenophobia, better understand rising support for populist parties, and assuage fears of loss of identity. The session is followed by brief closing remarks.
Record numbers of people are on the move throughout the
Mediterranean region in search of protection or opportunity, placing
considerable pressure on national asylum and migration systems and fueling
anxiety among publics about their governments’ ability to manage these flows.
This discussion, co-organized by the Migration Policy
Institute during September 2016 in New York, focuses on how governments and
actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable
solutions for refugees and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities
Opening comments and welcome are followed by the first session that examines
how regional cooperation can complement international action to address the
refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. What factors are driving current flows of
refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean, and how have the routes they
are using to access protection and opportunity shifted? What roles are
different actors playing at the international, national, regional, and local
levels to help manage mixed flows across the Mediterranean, and expand
protection for those in need? How can policymakers in the Mediterranean better
share responsibility for providing protection and help countries on the
frontline manage these flows and meet refugees’ needs?
World leaders met with significant fanfare in New York in September 2016 for the UN Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, with the aim of developing a more humane and coordinated approach by Member States to address sizable movements of refugees and migrants. The following day, President Obama convened a Leaders Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis, and private-sector leaders also met to focus on ways to respond to the rising humanitarian crisis.
Though the UN Summit fell short of producing the outcomes sought by many in the advocacy world, it did result in a New York Declaration where UN Member States affirmed the benefits of migration, standardized international protection of migrants and refugees, committed to programs to counter xenophobia and discrimination, affirmed international cooperation and responsibility sharing for refugee protection and solutions, and committed to draft a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees by 2018. The Obama summit gathered commitments from countries to resettle 360,000 refugees and rallied an estimated $650 million from private business leaders to empower refugees and improve their lives.
In this podcast, Migration Policy Institute experts, Kathleen Newland, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, and Gregory Maniatis, discuss the impacts of the summits and whether these efforts will gain enough momentum to respond capably to the complex threats that refugees and migrants are facing.
Housing an estimated 263,000 Somali refugees, the Dadaab camp is one of the world's largest refugee camps, and for more than 20 years, it has been home to generations of Somalis who have fled conflict. However, in 2016, the Kenyan government closed its Department of Refugee Affairs and announced its intention to close Dadaab camp, or at the very least drastically reduce the number of refugees in the camp by the end of the year. Based on a 2013 agreement with Somalia and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the “voluntary repatriation" of Somali refugees, the Kenyan government has been encouraging Somalis in the camp to volunteer to return in exchange for cash assistance. What these refugees will find on return to Somalia, however, is questionable, as conditions there do not appear stable or conducive to large-scale return. For those Somalis who remain in the camp and do not take the volunteer repatriation package, the future is no less uncertain—will they be forced to return without assistance if the camp closes, and if they do manage to remain in Kenya, will they be left without food assistance and subject to arrest for illegal presence?
Back from a recent trip to the region, Human Rights Watch researchers have released a report exploring the situation of refugees in Dadaab. Hear them share their findings from on-the-ground interviews and observations, along with their recommendations for the Kenyan government and international community.
The United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union has given new momentum to euroskeptic, nationalist, and anti-immigration movements elsewhere in Europe. While many of the policy impacts of the referendum will not be known for a while yet, the vote has pointed, in stunning fashion, to the rising public anxiety over immigration levels and concerns over governments' ability to manage flows and foster successful immigrant integration.
On this webinar, MPI Europe President Demetrios Papademetriou, who is also President emeritus of MPI, and experts associated with MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration discuss the political and policy lessons that can be learned from Brexit and applied to debates in both Europe and North America, including how to address concerns over immigration, identity, and immigrant integration while managing migration in a globalized economy. The discussion will also touched on a Transatlantic Council report, Understanding and Addressing Public Anxiety About Immigration.
On June 23, 2016, in what polling suggests will be a very close decision, UK citizens will decide whether the United Kingdom will remain part of the European Union (EU) or exit. The decision on the “Brexit” referendum will have enormous ramifications, in terms of trade, policy, and for the free movement of people and labor.
While there have been referenda on key issues in EU countries before, this is the first time that a major Member State has put full membership to the test. Yet for many European governments, Brexit is a second-tier issue, behind the refugee crisis, the rise of the populist far right, the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, and security on the Eastern border. Nonetheless, if the United Kingdom decides to exit, it is highly likely that the broader European project will suffer, boosting Euroskepticism and spurring debates over EU membership in other countries.
MPI hosts a discussion exploring how the migration politics and policies of the UK government influenced the decision to hold the referendum, how it might influence the result, and how the referendum’s outcome could impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and the European Union more broadly.
The pressure brought by the recent mass influx of migrants and refugees to Europe has drawn attention to the need for systems to receive and house new arrivals that can adapt to unpredictable numbers, remain cost-efficient, and meet national and EU standards. But what does it take to set up and manage a reception system that can simultaneously meet the demands of flexibility, quality, and efficiency?
Michael Kegels, Fedasil Belgium’s Director of Operational Services and author of the recent MPI Europe report, Getting the Balance Right: Strengthening Asylum Reception Capacity at National and EU Levels, discusses how to devise a more responsive asylum reception system at national and EU levels that upholds common standards. He is joined by representatives from the Austrian Ministry of Interior and EASO to reflect on the practical challenges of meeting asylum-seeker reception demand, the prospects of greater cooperation, and the place of asylum reception policy at the heart of the Common European Asylum System.
Following the March 30, 2016 meeting of global leaders hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), MPI Europe convened a discussion to examine the outcomes of the conference, and provide an analysis of how states and civil society can work together to realize the intensifying calls for new pathways to support the safe and legal migration—and successful integration—of refugees in practice. Speakers consider what initiatives already exist to facilitate the legal mobility of refugee groups, and critically assess the potential and pitfalls that come with each. The discussion also examines new and creative ideas that have emerged in the wake of the Syria crisis.
As the migration crisis in Europe continues unabated and a deepening crisis in Syria unfolds, European policymakers are struggling to come to terms with two of the most urgent elements: making certain that 2016 is not just a repetition of 2015 (or worse) and finding the key to incorporating those among the 1.5 million migrants who will be allowed to stay (whether under some form of protection or simply because EU Member States find deportations “difficult”).
Freshly returned from several months working on the crisis from MPI Europe’s offices in Brussels, Demetrios G. Papademetriou provides a briefing on how the policy response to the crisis has unfolded at EU and national levels, and sketches an affirmative vision for what the short-, mid-, and long-term responses must be if Europe is to respond more effectively to the crisis and tackle the longer-term integration challenges.
As the European Union considers scaling up plans to resettle refugees from Turkey and other countries of first asylum to improve protection, as well as reduce pressures to travel illicitly, limit the power of criminal networks and develop more equitable responsibility sharing among EU Member States, speakers, including the author of a recent MPI report, will discuss their analysis on how private sponsorship programs for refugees could possibly enhance outcomes and spread costs.
Used by Canada, Australia, and a handful of other countries, as well as 15 of the 16 German länder, these programs permit private individuals, groups, corporations, and other entities to sponsor individual refugees for resettlement and accept financial responsibility for them for a period of time. Panelists explore how these programs, if implemented or expanded in EU countries, might provide an additional safe and orderly channel for refugees to gain protection and become one part of the broader solution that policymakers are seeking in response to the current crisis.
With global displacement at record levels, it is clear that humanitarian protection will continue to be a key focus for policymakers and the international community throughout 2016. This year's calendar is dotted with a series of high-profile international events related to migration and refugee protection—including conferences in London (February 4) and Geneva (March 30) addressing the fallout of the Syrian civil war, and a pair of summits on refugees and migrants hosted by the United Nations and the United States in September. These high-level meetings could prove crucial in paving the way for meaningful solutions for the world’s forcibly displaced populations.
Migration Policy Institute (MPI) experts join the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on International Migration, Peter Sutherlan, for a webinar focusing on what can be expected to be discussed at this year’s high-level migration summits, and what tangible results might occur. In addition to Mr. Sutherland, the webinar features MPI Senior Fellow T. Alexander Aleinikoff, former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, and MPI Senior Fellow and Co-Founder Kathleen Newland.
The Philippines has the most sophisticated labor-exporting model in the world. Despite the robust supply of workers in the Philippines, there is a concern that emigration—coupled with limited capacity of local training institutions—has contributed to labor shortages in key industries.
The International Organization for Migration and the Migration Policy Institute hosted a breakfast briefing to discuss these critical issues and launch the Issue in Brief, Shortage amid Surplus: Emigration and Human Capital Development in the Philippines, the fifteenth in this joint-publication series offering succinct insights on migration issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region today.
Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, deported from Mexico and the United States, have arrived back in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in the past five years. Often facing conditions that are worse now than when they departed, this rapidly growing population of deportees—including tens of thousands of children—are in danger of entering a revolving door of migration, deportation, and remigration.
As deportations have increased in recent years, finding successful ways to disrupt the revolving-door phenomenon by providing more and better opportunities for Central America’s people, including through reception programs and reintegration services, is crucial to Central America, Mexico, and the United States.
With uncontrolled migration to the European Union growing by leaps and bounds and asylum applications recorded by EU Member States at an all-time high, calls for ‘solidarity’ and increased support from the EU level for Member States under pressure have grown louder. In this webinar, MPI Europe President Demetrios Papademetriou and EASO Executive Director Rob Visser, the agency’s first director, had a candid discussion on the role EASO has played in its first five years and its potential for the future, along with what strategies Europe ought to be pursuing with regards to the current crisis.
The IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific launched the 14th Issue in Brief in a series from MPI and IOM, which focused on left-behind children of Asian labor migrants. This event explores the social and health impacts of international labor migration on the children who remain at home when one or both their parents emigrate. The launch was attended by several representatives from diplomatic missions and UN agencies, including the embassies of Bangladesh, the Philippines, and UNICEF.
This discussion explored the tensions facing asylum systems in Europe and North America, and asked what tools governments have at their disposal to respond proactively to forced displacement and reduce its costs for refugees and host communities alike. Where and when should governments focus their protection investments to have the most impact? What actors and stakeholders need to be engaged, both within a government and internationally? What lessons can be drawn from responses to past asylum flows?