Following the United Nations (UN) Summit for Refugees and Migrants and the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, the Vienna Migration Conference (VMC) represents a unique opportunity for Europe to explore the way forward, based on the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.
With its three-pillar-approach consisting of research, migration dialogues and capacity building, ICMPD has wide experience in bridging the gap between theory and practice, giving experts and policy makers the opportunity to engage in open dialogue. In keeping with this mission, the VMC 2016 brought political decision makers and top researchers around the same table in order to help resolve the ongoing migration policy crisis.
The VMC comprised of two panels addressing the most crucial elements of European migration policy: refugee protection and international cooperation on migration.
The first panel on refugee protection evaluated the current state of play and the proposals for reforming the Common European Asylum System, including responsibility sharing and the question of distribution mechanisms.
The second panel on international cooperation on migration reflected on recent examples of international agreements and partnerships between countries of origin, transit and destination related to managing migration. The panel considered the opportunities and pitfalls of international cooperation, from the Valletta Action Plan and the EU-Turkey Statement to the new partnership framework and the UN compacts, with the aim of identifying an effective and coherent European approach to migration.
VMC 2016 had identified conflict, demography, economic disparities, development and transition as the main drivers of migration in today’s international context. There was wide agreement that Europe and the global community need to understand and address these drivers a lot better if migration should become a matter of choice rather than necessity, and if confidence should be restored that migration can be managed in a truly beneficial way. In synopsis, the Conference concluded that progress needs to be made in three main areas, namely protection, prosperity and partnership.