27 June 2017
Migration Meetings Highlight Governance Crisis, Data Needs
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UN Member States held the third informal thematic session in preparation for the global compact on migration, on the topic of International Cooperation and Governance of Migration in All Its Dimensions, Including at Borders.

The EU then convened a high-level conference on migration management, addressing responsibility sharing among Member States and tackling the root causes of migration.

UNStats held a meeting on improving migration data, DESA's Population Division reported on declining migration flows into high-income countries, and Development Initiatives provided an overview of support for refugees and victims of conflicts around the world.

22 June 2017: UN Member States held the third informal thematic session in preparation for the global compact on migration, while EU officials discussed managing population flows into Europe. The UN Statistics Division considered how to capture “migratory status” in population research, to better monitor action toward migration-related commitments in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The thematic session on the global compact took place from 19-20 June 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland, on the topic of ‘International Cooperation and Governance of Migration in All Its Dimensions, Including at Borders.’ The Geneva meeting comprised three panel discussions. The first took an overview of international cooperation on migration and identified where there are policy gaps. The second considered national policies and programmes relating to border management, and third examined bilateral, regional and subregional cooperation mechanisms, including how countries are managing the return and reintegration of migrants. A summary panel at the end of the meeting took stock of discussions and presented the recommendations that had emerged. A written summary of the session also is expected.

The thematic sessions comprise the first of three preparatory phases toward the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, to be adopted at an intergovernmental conference in 2018. The proposed compact will be the first UN intergovernmental agreement covering all dimensions of international migration; among its aims are to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

Immediately following the thematic session in Geneva, the EU convened a high-level conference on migration management in Brussels, Belgium, on 21 June, which discussed responsibility sharing among Member States, ensuring a stable and secure environment, and tackling the root causes of migration through cooperation with third countries. Speakers included: Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament; Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission; and Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank. Louise Arbour, UN Special Representative for International Migration, reminded EU members that more than 2,400 people have lost their lives on migration routes in 2017, most of them while traveling to Europe. She also underscored that refugees have legal status, and urged EU members to increase the variety of legal pathways to regular migration through providing opportunities for labor mobility and family reunification, noting that domestic labor demand attracts migrants, including through the underground economy.

The UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC) notes that Europe faces high labor demand for workers, particularly in the areas of information technology (IT) and healthcare. However, UNRIC reports, relocation and resettlement have been slow, with just under 21,000 refugees having been processed, out of 160,000 waiting to be resettled.

The UN Statistics Division organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on improving migration data in the context of the 2030 Agenda. The meeting, held from 20-22 June 2017, in New York, US, discussed the kinds of data needed to monitor achievement of the SDGs, and how data can be disaggregated to reflect migratory status, including through the use of non-traditional data sources.

Also in June, the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) published its 2017 revision of population estimates, based on sample surveys from around the world, to show population trends at the global, regional and national levels. According to the data, most refugees from Syria have gone to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and overall, migration flows into high-income countries have declined, from a peak of 4.5 million people a year during the 2005-2010 period, to 3.2 million a year during the 2010-2015 period. DESA notes that international migration at current levels will not fully replace falling population levels in Europe, but can help alleviate some of the negative impacts of population ageing.

Support for refugees and victims of conflicts around the world is reported in the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2017, published by the UK-based NGO Development Initiatives, which tracks humanitarian financial flows. The report shows that humanitarian assistance rose steadily between 2012 and 2016, reaching a high of US$23.7 billion in 2016. The countries receiving the highest amount of support in 2016 were, in order: Syria, Yemen, Jordan, South Sudan and Iraq.

The report states that global crises in 2016 placed 164.2 million people in 47 countries in need of aid, stressing that poverty, vulnerability and crises are linked. The report shows that, while funding for UN-coordinated appeals rose by 12% in 2016, there is still a 40% global shortfall for what is needed. The US was the highest aid donor in 2016, providing almost one-third of global aid.

Development Alternatives highlights that, since the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul, Turkey, several global processes have attempted to stem humanitarian crises, including the ‘Grand Bargain’ that resulted from the WHS, the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, and World Bank meetings around the ‘New Way of Working.’ [UN Webpage on Global Compact Preparations] [Global Compact Webpage] [High-Level Conference on Migration Management] [UNRIC Press Release] [EGM on Migration Data] [DESA Press Release on Population Report] [UN Press Release on Population Report] [Key Findings of World Population Report 2017] [Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2017] [GHA Report Webpage]

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