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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration: Switching Perspectives?

Many countries around the globe are grappling with policy questions surrounding the return of irregular migrants and asylum seekers whose claims have been denied. In Europe, policymakers have long been concerned about low return rates. And discussions on how to increase the number of returns (including voluntary ones), while conducting them in a humane way, and achieving sustainable reintegration are high on the European Union (EU) agenda.

In April, the European Commission took a step toward the creation of a common EU return system, releasing its first Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration. The strategy aims to increase the number of voluntary returns, but also to improve EU Member States’ coordination on their respective Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programs and make reintegration in origin countries more sustainable. To achieve these objectives, European policymakers need to secure cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin—an often-neglected dimension of AVRR programs. However, these countries may be disinclined towards cooperation, concerned about the loss of remittances, negative public opinion, and increasing pressure on job markets and public service delivery already stressed by the pandemic. Still, voluntary return and reintegration may be one area where there are tangible opportunities for EU Member States and origin countries alike to build on some converging goals.

This MPI Europe event marks the release of a new policy brief EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration: Crafting a Road Map to Better Cooperation with Migrants’ Countries of OriginSpeakers examine origin- and destination-country policy priorities, opportunities for cooperation, challenges and structural limitations that shape what can be achieved, and possible next steps for building on the principles identified in the EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration, starting a new chapter for EU-funded AVRR programs. 

Missing Ingredients in Diaspora Engagement in Development: Destination-Country Policies and Integration

Posted in Migration and Development, Immigrant Integration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on April 24th, 2021

The role of diasporas in the development of their countries of origin is now an accepted part of migration and development analysis. However, policy recommendations have centered mostly on how origin countries engage their diasporas in development efforts. More than 110 origin countries have created specialized units devoted to facilitating diaspora contributions to development. 

While research and recommendations on country-of-origin policies have advanced in both quantity and quality, two important pieces have been left out of diaspora-and-development discussions: 1) the importance of integration to the capacity of diaspora communities to contribute to development and 2) the ways in which official development cooperation programs in destination countries support diaspora organizations and involve diasporas in official development cooperation.
There is also a growing realization of the connection between the development roles of diasporas and their integration in the countries where they have settled.

This webinar examines what roles diasporas play in the development cooperation programs of countries of destination, as well as the potential challenges and opportunities for policy design. Speakers, from government, civil society, and the diaspora community, explore how integration in destination countries influences diasporas’ ability to contribute to development in their homelands. The discussion includes examples from the diaspora engagement actions and policies of western donor governments and lessons about effectiveness and sustainability, including from Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and United States. The event includes a special focus on Norway, where policy development is looking into how to strengthen civil-society engagement in the field of integration, and exploring the connections to diasporas engagement in development cooperation.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: No “Climate Refugees,” But Still a Role for the UN Refugee Agency

Technically, people forced to move because of climate disasters are not considered “refugees.” But the UN refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, still takes climate issues into account, and since 2020 Andrew Harper has been its special advisor on climate action. We talked with Harper about his agency’s role in responding to climate issues, which regions of the world are most likely to be affected by climate impacts, and why climate is a “vulnerability multiplier” for refugees.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: The Benefits of Climate Migration

Popular discussions usually frame climate change-induced migration negatively, often as a strategy of last resort. But migrating abroad can also be an effective way to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. This episode discusses how migration can bring social, economic, and other benefits to migrants and their communities, in conversation with University of Vienna human geographer Harald Sterly.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Is Climate Change Driving Migration from Central America?

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence. In this episode, we hear from geographer and climatologist Diego Pons, of Colorado State University, to dissect how changing climate, food insecurity, and migration intersect in this region.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Who Manages Climate Migration? Evolving Global Governance

Climate change and international migration both are global issues with aspects that countries try to manage through treaties, pacts, and other types of agreements. But most of the global governance frameworks that exist for climate-induced migration require only voluntary commitments by states. This episode features a discussion with political scientist Nick Micinski, author of the forthcoming books, UN Global Compacts: Governing Migrants and Refugees and Delegating Responsibility: International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Migrate or Adapt? How Pacific Islanders Respond to Climate Change

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by migrationpolicy on February 19th, 2021

Among the earliest examples of the disruptions that climate change can bring, some low-lying island countries in the Pacific Ocean are facing serious threats from rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Over the long term, atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands might eventually need to relocate some or all of their populations. But not everyone wants to migrate, and governments have balanced supporting people who relocate with other ways of adapting to changing conditions. Carol Farbotko, of Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Tasmania, joins the podcast to discuss the policies and dynamics in place in this region.

 

 

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: The Many Possible Futures of Climate-Linked Migration

Posted in Migration and Development, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by migrationpolicy on February 5th, 2021

Climate change is already affecting how, whether, and where people migrate. But environmental change is likely to become more extreme in the coming decades, unless the world takes serious action now. How might changes made now impact what future migration looks like? This episode features a conversation with Robert McLeman, a geographer and environmental studies expert at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, about the possible scenarios that lie ahead for the relationship between climate change and migration, depending on how countries act in the next few decades.

 

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: How Climate-Linked Food Insecurity Shapes Migration

Reliable access to food—or lack thereof—can affect an individual’s decision to migrate. Climate change has the ability to exacerbate food insecurity, especially for farmers and others who live off the land, which can have repercussions for human mobility. In this episode we talk with Megan Carney, an anthropologist and director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Regional Food Studies, to examine the role of food security in the connection between climate change and migration.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Talking Money: Climate Finance and Migration

Billions of dollars are being spent on projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including those at risk of being displaced by environmental events. This episode features Timo Schmidt, from the Migration Policy Institute Europe, in a discussion about the growing field of climate finance and its implications for migration management and displacement prevention.

 

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Purposeful and Coordinated: Climate Change and Managed Retreat in India

Confronting environmental change, whole communities sometimes relocate from one area to another. This purposeful, coordinated movement, while currently rare, is referred to as managed retreat. In this episode Architesh Panda, from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, explains how this climate adaptation strategy works in India.

Enhancing the Social and Economic Inclusion of Refugees through Local Development Strategies

Humanitarian and development actors in low- and middle-income countries that host refugees have focused many of their recent interventions on integrating newcomers into national development strategies and promoting access to public services nationwide. But how do these efforts play out at the local level?

This MPI Europe conversation explores how development actors can work with local authorities to enhance the social and economic inclusion of refugees. Subnational authorities have been at the forefront of hosting refugees; while their capacity can be narrow, they often have first-hand experience in managing relations between host and refugee communities. During this webchat, experts discuss partnerships between local authorities, the UNHCR, and development actors that are aimed at integrating refugees in local governance mechanisms. These experiences suggest that improvements for refugees often start at the local level, where general principles agreed upon in international fora are being tested. 

This discussion involving representatives from the World Bank, UNHCR, and Kenya’s Refugee Affairs Secretariat explores three main questions: How can development and humanitarian actors engage with local institutions to promote refugee inclusion? How has the involvement of refugees in local institutions materialized and what are the ways to ensure this participation leads to tangible changes? Finally, in fragile environments, how can discussions on refugee inclusion enhance the engagement of other groups that have traditionally been marginalized in refugee-hosting regions (e.g., internally displaced persons, ethnic minorities, or returnees)?

Migrants in Africa & COVID-19: From Emergency Measures to Inclusive Social Protection Systems

Most African states closed their borders in attempt to contain COVID-19, resulting in a loss of livelihood that has been devastating for many, including migrants, in the absence of a community-based safety net. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports migration flows in West and Central Africa were nearly halved between January and April 2020, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded and requiring assistance with shelter, health care, and food. Already under pressure to deliver health services and emergency safety nets for their citizens, host countries often lack the capacity and the resources to support migrants, especially the ones who are in transit or informal workers without legal status. As a result, assistance for migrants during this public-health crisis has often come from international organizations such as IOM, civil-society actors, or diasporas.

The coronavirus crisis has also raised longer-term questions about social protection systems in Africa and which dimensions should be set up and prioritized for funding. In many ways, the pandemic has confirmed the pressing need for social protection for everyone, particularly in terms of health care, as vulnerabilities in one group can affect overall community wellbeing. But the looming economic crisis also risks limiting the appetite of host governments and development aid donors for more ambitious protection systems for non-nationals, which may ultimately reduce the benefits of regional and continental free movement regimes that African countries have been working towards for a decade.

This MPI Europe discussion with the Acting Regional Director for West and Central Africa for the International Organization for Migration, along with representatives from the African Union and International Labor Organization explores what emergency measures have been deployed by African governments and aid actors in response to COVID-19 to assist migrants in need. The panelists also examine what the health crisis says about social protection systems, the incentives for inclusionary systems for all, who should support these mechanisms in times of crisis, and how to make (at least some of) these measures sustainable.

Migration & Coronavirus: A Complicated Nexus Between Migration Management and Public Health

Governments around the world have adopted significant migration management measures to try to contain and halt the spread of COVID-19. Border closures, travel restrictions, prohibitions on arrivals from certain areas, and heightened screening have been among the leading policy responses, initially to try to block COVID-19 from crossing borders and later, as the pandemic became a global one, as part of a raft of mobility restrictions seeking to mitigate further spread. The success of these restrictions in stemming the initial breakout of public health threats across international borders as well as their role in mitigating "community spread" within affected states is a matter of dispute. More clear, however, is that internal measures—such as business closures and "lockdown" orders—are likely to be borne disproportionately by the most vulnerable, including refugees, unauthorized populations, and other immigrants.
 
This webinar, organized by the Migration Policy Institute and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, discussed the state of play around the globe and examined where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals. Experts compared the current response (and rhetoric) to what has been seen during prior major public health crises in the United States and internationally, and discussed how this is likely to affect future mobility and international cooperation on issues such as humanitarian protection.

Speakers included:

Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow, MPI, and former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Associate Director, International Program, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, University Professor and Director, Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, and former Deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Alan Kraut, Distinguished University Professor of History, American University, and MPI Nonresident Fellow

View all MPI resources related to COVID-19.

Chronicling Migration in the 21st Century Through One Family’s Journey

The story of global migration as a force shaping economies, politics, and cultures around the world is typically told via analysis of data and policies, with a focus on trends rather than individuals. Yet at the end of the day, migration is the most human of phenomena, and one that has been around as long as humans have been on the planet. This discussion with award-winning New York Times reporter Jason DeParle traces the arc of migration and its impacts through the life of an extended family of Filipino migrants that he has followed from the slums of Manila to the Houston suburbs over three decades.

Marking the launch of DeParle's new book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century, this conversation with MPI's Andrew Selee and the World Bank's Dilip Ratha explores migration at both a global and very personal level.

As he chronicles the story of three generations of a Filipino family, DeParle documents the personal, cultural, and economic challenges and opportunities the family faces, whether as migrants or those remaining behind. His reporting and analysis on immigration trends, the costs and rewards of migration to both sending and receiving communities, and examination of the political and economic questions surrounding migration offer the opportunity for a rich discussion. 

A Conversation with António Vitorino, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration

The world is home to approximately 258 million international migrants, who represent 3.4 percent of the global population. About 10 percent of them are refugees. As countries seek to come to terms with record forcible displacement and manage other human movement, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working with partners in the international community to respond to humanitarian emergencies and meet the operational challenges of migration management, advance a better understanding of migration issues, and promote orderly migration policies that can benefit migrants and Member States alike.

In this first and only public address during his inaugural formal visit to Washington, DC. Director General António Vitorino discussed his vision for IOM; reforms and changes in the UN system designed to address migration matters better; the coordination of efforts between IOM, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other international partners in addressing humanitarian protection; and the operational steps IOM is taking to respond to forced migration and displacement in hotspots around the world, including Venezuela, Bangladesh, and Libya. Following a conversation with Demetrios Papademetriou, Mr. Vitorino took audience questions.

Understanding the Policy Context for Migrant Return and Reintegration

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration by migrationpolicy on November 16th, 2018

In December 2018 in Marrakech, UN Member States are scheduled to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Among the compact’s many groundbreaking ambitions is a commitment to facilitate the return, readmission, and reintegration of migrants that recognizes the priorities of both origin and destination countries. Implementing this commitment may, however, prove extremely challenging.

Migrant returns take place along a spectrum ranging from wholly voluntary—at times even solicited by countries of origin—to compulsory or, at the extreme, physically forced. The ways in which returns are carried out vary widely, from individualized legal proceedings with due process and reintegration support, to coercive mass returns with no legal or humanitarian safeguards.

This webinar examines the policies, practices, and contextual factors that make compulsory returns such a difficult issue for international cooperation, and the programs that are being implemented to make reintegration of returnees sustainable. Speakers explore the competing perspectives migration policymakers must attempt to reconcile when considering returns—from the rule of law to humanitarian, development, security, and stability concerns. With all eyes turning towards the challenges of compact implementation, speakers discuss the possibility for international cooperation on returns and how reintegration assistance and development cooperation can mitigate shocks to often-fragile communities of origin, add positive incentives for return, and ameliorate the conditions at origin that motivate people to migrate.

The discussion draws on an MPI policy brief that explores the policy frameworks of return and the role of reintegration and development assistance in international cooperation on safe and sustainable returns. The brief forms part of a collaboration between MPI and GIZ supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Making the Global Compact on Migration a Reality: Ideas for Enhancing Regular Migration Pathways at All Skill Levels

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on September 12th, 2018

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 26, the UN Special Representative for International Migration will launch the final phase of preparations for the historic adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in Marrakesh, Morocco in December 2018. As the global compact moves from the realm of ideas and into reality, the focus of states and UN bodies is shifting from design to implementation.

This podcast considers two central objectives of the compact: enhancing the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration, and investing in skills development. Experts from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the Germany Development Cooperation Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, or GIZ) discuss concrete ideas for implementing these objectives. Panelists examine how migration pathways can be expanded, including through bilateral and regional agreements, to meet the needs of labor markets in destination countries while safeguarding migrants against abuse. The podcast also draws on lessons from previous migration partnerships to assess the potential of “skills partnerships,” a concept proposed by the compact that aim to facilitate the training and development of skilled workers who can fill labor market gaps in both countries of origin and destination.

The discussion draws on research conducted for the project, Towards a Global Compact for Migration: Rethinking the Links between Migration and Development, by MPI and GIZ, and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Immigration Data Matters: How to Find the Most Accurate Resources

With immigration increasingly visible in the news and the political space in the United States and internationally, getting access to accurate, high-quality data is essential for publics and policymakers to understand immigration’s demographic effects and impacts on the economy, education and labor systems, and the communities in which immigrants and their families live and work.

This event marks the release of an updated version of the popular Immigration Data Matters guide, which directs users to more than 220 international and U.S. data sources, and explains how to navigate sometimes complex datasets issued by government statistical agencies, international organizations, and reputable research organizations. This handy online guide includes data sources covering everything from the size of foreign-born population stocks and flows to citizenship applications, children in immigrant families, refugee admissions, migrant deaths, international student enrollment, global remittance flows, enforcement activities, and much more. 

At a time of proliferating data sources on immigration and immigrants, the presenters (Jeanne Batalova, MPI Senior Policy Analyst and Data Hub Manager, MPI; Mark Mather, Population Reference Bureau Associate Vice President for U.S. Programs; Elizabeth M. Grieco, Pew Research Center Senior Writer/Editor and former U.S. Census Bureau Foreign-Born Population Branch Chief; and Marc Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Immigration Statistics at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) discuss where some of the most user-friendly data can be accessed, including MPI’s own Migration Data Hub. They share their insights on how to avoid common pitfalls in using existing immigration data and highlight relevant data sources available from international organizations and national governments, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  

Beyond Stock-Taking: The Path Ahead to a Global Compact for Migration

Representatives of national governments, UN agencies, and key civil-society organizations convened in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at the beginning of December 2017 to take stock of the progress that has been made towards conceptualizing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM). Formal negotiations are scheduled to begin in 2018 to fulfill the commitment made at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016 by Member States to negotiate a Global Compact for Migration by the end of 2018—a task that was complicated with the decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the further consultations.

To reflect on the latest developments and the outcomes of the stocktaking meeting, MPI hosted discussion with Eva Åkerman Börje, Senior Policy Advisor in the office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration, and Ilse Hahn, Head of Division on Policy Issues of Displacement and Migration, from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The discussion, moderated by MPI Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland, also drew from the conclusions of MPI's policy brief, The Global Compact for Migration: How Does Development Fit In?

This webinar is part of a project, "Towards a Global Compact for Migration: Rethinking the Links between Migration and Development", by MPI and the German Development Cooperation Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, or GIZ), supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2018, the project will issue a series of policy briefs aimed at enriching the conversation around migration and development in the context of the Global Compact negotiations.

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