Migrations, “Knowing the root causes to ensure legal and safe paths for those in need of protection”

Migrations, "Knowing the root causes to ensure legal and safe paths for those in need of protection"


ROME – In a world marked by economic crises, conflicts and natural disasters, the increase in migration has become one of the most important geopolitical phenomena of the century. The negative effects of climate change and environmental degradation are driving more and more people to abandon their places of origin or residence. The International Conference on Development and Migration that took place in Rome brought together various United Nations agencies and representatives of several countries involved in the management of migration flows, with the aim of addressing urgent challenges such as irregular migration and forced international displacement.

The complexity of the challenges. “Forced displacements and mixed movements are complex challenges for all: countries of origin, transit and destination”, said the High Commissioner of theUNHCRPhilip Grandi. “Addressing them requires international cooperation, resources and patient work because there are many overlapping reasons why people move: violence, conflict, persecution for some; climate change, bad governance, lack of economic opportunity for others.”

The rights to be respected. First of all, ensure that access to the territory for asylum seekers is respected as a fundamental human right and an obligation of States anywhere in the world. “Refoulements and collective expulsions, especially to unsafe places and situations, are not acceptable”, Grandi underlined. On the other hand, those who do not need international protection must be ensured safe, sustainable and dignified repatriations to their countries of origin. Furthermore, saving lives must remain the top priority for governments around the world, both at sea and on land.

Increase investment. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has underlined the importance of investment to better manage the growing number of people fleeing and in need of protection. “Natural disasters displaced 32.6 million people last year: 7.5 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone. But that’s just the beginning. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimates that more than 300 million people live in communities that are extremely vulnerable to climate change,” explained IOM head Amy Pope. “No government or international organization can do this job alone. We need to invest in all sectors of society,” she added.

Economic incentives. Migration, if properly managed, can contribute to the development of all countries – host, origin or transit – involved in this phenomenon, say the main United Nations agencies. “Evidence shows that well-managed migration stimulates economic development. Considering demographic trends and the evolution of the global labor market, we must start now to create comprehensive, inclusive migration solutions and integrate more strategic and humane mobility policies into regional and national plans,” Pope added.

Legal and safe channels for those who have to flee. Increasing channels of legal migration such as family reunification, resettlement, scholarships and other mechanisms that offer opportunities are essential to provide safe alternatives for migrants. Finally, addressing the root causes of displacement is the last piece of the puzzle to ending the refugee crisis. “Everyone must do much more to tackle the climate emergency, promote good governance, invest in development, end conflict and persecution, and protect human rights,” Grandi said. “These efforts can only be strategic if they are collective, i.e. made by all the States and all the institutions concerned”.


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