Santi Palacios

Migration Experts Discuss “New Design” for Global Governance of Migration and Refugees

Santi Palacios

On Wednesday, 25 November 2015, The Hague Institute for Global Justice and The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration organized a Scoping Session on “Moving Global Action on Migration and Refugees Forward.” It gathered relevant stakeholders from The Hague, Brussels, Geneva, Berlin, Paris, and New York representing different professional backgrounds from policymakers and practitioners to researchers and business leaders, as well as across different fields of expertise, including security, justice, health, labor and human rights. They jointly identified the most striking challenges and gaps currently faced in the governance of migration and refugees as a first step forward in formulating an effective global response.

The Session marks the beginning of a consultative process among migration stakeholders determined to explore the necessity, feasibility, and shape of a new design or framework for the global governance of migration and refugees. Among the possible elements or characteristics of the new design discussed during the meeting are:

  • Global migration and refugee governance needs to connect closely with regional, national, and local systems of governance and operate in a mutually reinforcing, rather than potentially undermining, way.
  • Strike a balance between short, medium, and long-term migration and refugee governance priorities.
  • A “vulnerability approach” is needed to cope with sometimes arbitrary distinctions between migrants and refugees, especially with the rising phenomenon of mixed migration.
  • Alongside traditional migration and refugee governance actors (e.g., states and international agencies), engage new actors, from municipalities, the business sector, and civil society, earlier in policy development and implementation.
  • Engage in constructive dialogue and positive framing of migration and refugee governance among all relevant interest groups, including migrants and refugees, the general population in receiving countries, the media, and politicians.

The rich discussion among the participants has begun to lay the foundations for an international high-level dialogue in 2016 among policy-makers, experts, and practitioners on the future of migration and refugee governance.

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