International Community Looks at Migration-Related Data, Education, Role of Faith-Based Organizations
UN Photo/John Isaac
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International organizations, policy experts, statisticians, and civil society gathered in Paris, France for the first International Forum on Migration Statistics.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General invited faith-based organizations to contribute to the forthcoming negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration.

A joint OECD-ILO publication finds that labor migration has a relatively limited impact in terms of native-born workers’ labor market outcomes, economic growth, and public finance.

24 January 2018: In January, migration was high on the international community’s agenda, with the convening of the first International Forum on Migration Statistics, as well as the Fourth Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith‑Based Organizations in International Affairs. Pope Francis and the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) addressed migration in a private meeting. Recent publications focus on immigrants’ contribution to developing countries’ economies and the inter-generational transmission of disadvantage for native-born children of immigrants.

On 15 January, international organizations, policy experts, statisticians and civil society gathered in Paris, France for the first International Forum on Migration Statistics, co-organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Participants discussed ways to ensure more accurate and timely information on migration flows, and examined how better data collection can improve policy making. The Forum explored innovations in data collection, including Big Data, innovative ways to measure economic and social immigrant integration, as well as measures for strengthening capacity in developing countries to produce and improve migration statistics. According to the IOM, the Forum aims to become a biannual event for producers and users of migration-related data. [OECD Press Release] [Forum Website]

The Fourth Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith‑Based Organizations in International Affairs convened on 22 January 2018, in New York, US, under the theme of ‘Perspectives on Migration: displacement and marginalization.’ UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed noted that faith‑based organizations are found on the front lines of crisis, providing food, shelter, education, and medical and psychological support to migrants and refugees. Therefore, she said, they have much to contribute to both the implementation of the SDGs, which provide a framework for human rights and peaceful societies, and the UN Secretary-General’s plans for UN reform, which aim to strengthen the UN’s work to prevent conflict, resolve disputes peacefully, and address violations of human rights before they escalate. She invited faith-based organizations to also contribute to the forthcoming negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration. [UN Deputy Secretary-General Remarks] [Symposium Webpage]

Also in January, Pope Francis had a private meeting with IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo to discuss the importance of investing in rural development to create opportunities for the very poor. Since April 2017 when he took office, Houngbo’s efforts have focused on transforming rural areas economically so that people are motivated to stay rather than move to cities and beyond. Pope Francis was quoted as saying that most migrants would prefer to stay in their own countries but are instead forced to leave “due to discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation.” [IFAD Press Release]

Labor migration has a relatively limited impact on native-born workers’ labor market outcomes.

On 24 January, OECD and the International Labour Organization (ILO), with support from the EU, published a report titled, ‘How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries’ Economies.’ The publication provides quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence on the multiple ways immigrants affect their host countries, based on research in Argentina, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand. The study shows that labor migration has a relatively limited impact in terms of native-born workers’ labor market outcomes, economic growth and public finance. This implies, the authors explain, that perceptions of negative effects of immigrants are often unjustified. But it also means that most host countries do not sufficiently leverage the human capital and expertise that immigrants contribute, a problem that, the authors note, can be addressed through public policies. [Publication: How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries’ Economies]

On 21 December 2017, OECD published a report providing new insights on the complex issue of the intergenerational “transmission of disadvantage” for native-born children of immigrants. The publication, titled ‘Catching Up? Intergenerational Mobility and Children of Immigrants,’ finds that natives with immigrant parents have lower education attainment and weaker learning outcomes than their peers with native-born parents in most European OECD countries, especially in those countries that experienced large-scale immigration of immigrants with low levels of education in the past. Native-born persons with foreign-born parents account for 9% of youth aged 15-34 in the EU and 11% of all children below the age of 15. The study further shows that about a dozen of OECD countries have policies in place to promote the employment of children of immigrants in the public sector – from information and advertisement campaigns to broad-based policies specifically targeted at children of immigrants, which oblige public employers to make particular recruitment efforts with respect to this group. [Publication: Catching Up? Intergenerational Mobility and Children of Immigrants] [Executive Summary]


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