The world is on the move. In 2015, roughly 3.3% of the world’s population (around 244 million people) were international migrants. That’s a small percentage of the global population overall, but it’s a number that’s growing fast, facilitated as it is by new technology and a more interconnected world.
The issue of global migration is bigger than any one country. The global community recognises that states need to work together in order to guarantee safe, orderly, and regular migration flows, and steps have already been taken in this direction. In 2016, the UN General Assembly committed itself to adopting a “global compact for migration”. The compact is expected to be formally adopted at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakech, Morocco, in December 2018.
The agreement will commit states to bolstering cooperation across the board when it comes to international migration. It seeks to standardise the collection of data, so we have a more accurate picture of global migration flows. It hopes to formalise cooperation between states, but also within states between policymakers, civil society, the private sector, and international organisations such as UN agencies and bodies.
What do our readers think? We had a comment from Anuja who thinks the world’s current approach to migration is failing. She also believes migration flows are going to intensify over the coming years (for example, due to pressures from climate change), so we urgently need to rethink our response (hence the movement towards a global migration compact). Is she right?
To get a response, we put Anuja’s comment to the UN Special Representative for International Migration, Louise Arbour, when we met up with her at the annual State of Europe conference in Brussels held by Friends of Europe. How would she respond?
To get another perspective, we put the same comment to Lloyd Axworthy, Chair of the World Refugee Council and a former Canadian minister of foreign affairs. Did he agree with Anuja’s comment on the need for a global response to migration flows?
Many of our readers are sceptical about the idea of a global response to migration. For example, we had a comment from Paul who argues that drafting a framework for a global response is easy, but making it work in practice is pretty much impossible. He argues that countries don’t all have the same resources, so enforcement will be patchy at best. Is Paul being too pessimistic?
How would Louise Arbour respond to Paul’s comment?
Finally, what would Lloyd Axworthy say to Paul?
Do we need a global response to migration? Is the current approach to migration broken? And how would a global response actually work in practice? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!