www.icmpd.org https://www.icmpd.org/ NEWS CENTRE en www.icmpd.org https://www.icmpd.org/typo3conf/ext/tt_news/ext_icon.gif https://www.icmpd.org/ 18 16 NEWS CENTRE TYPO3 - get.content.right http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Fri, 16 Aug 2019 09:22:23 +0200 Project News: Workshop on “Harnessing Migration for Rural Development " organised by MIEUX https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-workshop-on-harnessing-migration-for-rural-development-organised-by-mieux/ The joint EU-ICMPD MIgration EU eXpertise (MIEUX) Initiative is supporting the Ecuadorian...

The second of a series of four regional workshops ahead of the Quito Summit in November will gather representatives from academia, national and local-level governments, International organisations and civil society to exchange experiences.  

MIEUX is providing relevant European expertise and content support to the Government of Ecuador in relation to the GFMD 2019 process. Specifically, MIEUX is assisting Ecuador with organising a series of regional workshops that should not only contribute directly to the thematic round-tables of the Quito Summit and to the background papers, but also function as standalone events that advance the global debate on migration and development.

Through the exchange of experiences and practices from Africa, Asia, Europe and LAC, the workshop will explore how to enhance the positive and mitigate the negative effects of migration and remittances to encourage positive social change and build resilience for populations in rural areas. 

As Mr. Oleg Chirita, Head of Programme, Global Initiatives, ICMPD stated, “Around the world, growing urbanisation and the concentration of economic activity in cities have driven internal migration from rural areas to cities for decades, creating a number of challenges. However, there a number of examples from around the world that prove migration and remittances can prove beneficial and contribute to sustainable development and resilient societies.”

Development strategies in many countries have tended to focus on preventing rural flight and stemming migration into overcrowded cities. Yet, as existing drivers –poverty, conflict, land degradation, food insecurity and discrimination – can be exacerbated by a changing climate and threatening to further undermine livelihoods that heavily depend on natural resources vulnerable to droughts, floods and other environmental impacts, governments may increasingly need to consider human mobility as part of rural resilience-building strategies.

This workshop in Kingston, Jamaica, will discuss the role of migration and remittances in the transformation of rural areas, including the impact on agriculture and related industries, as well as local employment opportunities and entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In addition, it will explore options for policy makers at national and local levels to enhance positive and mitigate negative effects.

The workshop responds to one of the priorities of the Ecuadorian GFMD Chairmanship to engage regional stakeholders in meaningful dialogue ahead of the Quito Summit. A wide array of stakeholders, among which representatives from local and central governments, academia, civil society and international organisations, will gather to contribute through these discussions to the supporting documents for the Summit´s Round-table 3.2  “Harnessing migration for rural transformation and development” ” of the GFMD 2019 agenda.

More information about the series of regional workshops is available on the MIEUX website.

More information about the two-day regional workshop “Harnessing Migration for Rural Development

Fri, 16 Aug 2019 09:22:23 +0200
Expert Voice: Needing to use migrant smuggling services as a position of vulnerability: Trafficking on migration routes to Europe https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/expert-voice-needing-to-use-migrant-smuggling-services-as-a-position-of-vulnerability-trafficking/ To mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2019, this ICMPD Expert Voice article puts the... By Dr. Claire Healy, Research Coordinator, ICMPD Anti-Trafficking Programme


Faizan’s Story

Faizan* was 14 years old when he arrived in Serbia in 2016 from Pakistan. His family had given him enough money to pay for migrant smugglers to take him out of Pakistan, across Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. In Turkey, he and some other Pakistani boys worked in a textiles workshop near Istanbul for a few months to pay for the sea crossing from the Turkish port town of Izmir to the nearby Greek island of Samos in the North Aegean Sea. During his subsequent overland trip through mainland Greece and North Macedonia, he ran out of money again. The two young Pakistani men whom he had partially paid to take him from Greece to Germany told him that he could pay the rest of the fees by ‘guiding’ people along the route. He knew the overland journey through Greece and North Macedonia, as he had taken it himself.


And so in summer 2016, Faizan started accompanying groups of Pakistani and Afghani people along the route from Greece to Serbia, as they attempted the ‘game’ of trying to irregularly cross borders. But his ‘debt’ to the smugglers kept increasing. By the time social workers encountered him in Belgrade, Serbia, Faizan was 16 years old. He had never made it to Germany and he had been working in the ‘game’ for almost two years. He said that the ‘big boss’ of the migrant smugglers was based in Belgium. According to the social workers in Serbia, who we interviewed for our research, “he was forced to work for him and pay money, as he said, pay his way out […]. When he wanted to get out of it, he feared he would be killed, and he had to pay quite a huge amount of money.” 


Trafficking for Forced Migrant Smuggling

Apart from sex and labour trafficking, the main form of trafficking affecting men and boys who travel on migration routes to the EU is forced criminal activities, particularly migrant smuggling. Unaccompanied Afghani and Pakistani boys and young men in Greece, Serbia and Hungary are recruited by migrant smugglers to provide different types of migrant smuggling services. Men and boys are also forced by migrant smugglers to navigate boats from Turkey to Greece, and from Libya to Italy.

An interviewee for our research in Greece spoke of: “Afghani and Pakistani boys who wanted to cross the Evros region [land border between Turkey and Greece], and the smugglers told them it would cost €1,000. As soon as they crossed, they were informed that the price had gone up to €1,500, which they could not pay. Therefore, they were forced to smuggle people in order to repay their debt, and sometimes they were arrested as smugglers, while in reality they were the victims.” 


People are also forced by migrant smugglers to navigate boats across the Central Mediterranean Sea. A 30-year-old Malian man interviewed in Germany described his experience of crossing to Italy from Libya: “[The smugglers] chose a Senegalese man to navigate the boat. He was not willing, but they forced him.”

The Paradox of ‘Vulnerable Groups

Boys and men are most affected by this form of trafficking for forced criminality. Yet many state and NGO service providers along the route presume that teenage boys, and particularly young men, are more resilient to abuse and trafficking. Teenage boys and young men are a vulnerable group in this specific context precisely because they are considered the least vulnerable.

This creates a paradox of ‘vulnerable groups’, whereby people considered the most vulnerable tend to have better access to services en route and in destination contexts, while people not considered vulnerable are actually rendered more vulnerable due to lack of access. It is the perceived vulnerability of a young child or a woman travelling alone that means that they can access better protection services and have increased resilience in transit and destination countries in Europe.

Abuse of a Position of Vulnerability Caused by the Need for Migrant Smuggling

As a consequence of the lack of legal channels for migrating and seeking asylum, and the lack of possibilities to transit regularly along the routes, almost everyone who travels the routes uses migrant smuggling services, at least at some point. The ‘closing’ of the borders in March 2016 resulted in an increased demand for migrant smuggling services, due to the increased difficulty of transiting to intended destination countries. 

Vulnerabilities to trafficking arise either directly through interaction with smugglers, or as a result of the need to pay for their services. Smuggling services may be provided without involving abuses or exploitation, but people on the move run out of money or go into debt in order to pay for the services, making them vulnerable to labour exploitation in particular. 

Regardless of whether or not traffickers also provide migrant smuggling services, and of whether they exploit people on the move in forced migrant smuggling or in other forms of exploitation, the main modus operandi of traffickers is to abuse the position of vulnerability of people travelling along migration routes. This position of vulnerability arises from their need to use, and to pay for, migrant smuggling services, in a context of lack of alternatives for regular travel.

Therefore, on the occasion of this year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we call attention to some of the key recommendations of The Strength to Carry On:

  • Significantly expand the range of alternatives for regular travel for refugees and other migrants, and their availability, to avoid people making irregular and dangerous journeys, and using migrant smugglers. This includes possibilities for regular migration (including labour migration and family reunification) and programmes for regular travel for refugees, including resettlement, community sponsorship and humanitarian visas. 
  • For people who cannot access legal opportunities for travel, allow legal transit through countries along migration routes. People who can transit legally and swiftly through transit countries are more resilient to trafficking and other abuses, and if transit regularised and registered, they are more likely to trust the authorities. 
  • Combat forced migrant smuggling as a form of human trafficking, by undertaking any necessary legal amendments and ensuring that anti-trafficking stakeholders are informed, trained and properly resourced to identify cases where people who seem like perpetrators of migrant smuggling are actually victims of trafficking for forced migrant smuggling, to protect the victims, and to prosecute the actual perpetrators. 
  • Ensure that people who have been trafficked for the purposes of forced migrant smuggling and other forced criminal activities are not punished for these crimes, by making any legal and administrative amendments necessary, ensuring effective implementation of non-punishment provisions and training all relevant stakeholders. The actual perpetrators should be brought to justice.
  • Put in place specific protection measures for girls, boys, women and men, recognising the special needs of women and children, and recognising that men and boys are also vulnerable to abuses, particularly unaccompanied and separated boys. When men and boys are not considered ‘vulnerable groups’, they may be denied access to protection and essential services, rendering them more vulnerable to trafficking and other abuses.

The short Briefing Paper setting out the research findings and the recommendations of the study "The Strength to Carry On", as well as the Policy Brief, are now available in English, Bulgarian, Hungarian, German, Greek, Italian, Macedonian and Serbian.

*The boy’s name and other details have been changed to protect his anonymity.


Tue, 30 Jul 2019 17:02:00 +0200
Project News: Workshop on "Facilitating social and economic inclusion of migrants" organised by MIEUX https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-workshop-on-facilitating-social-and-economic-inclusion-of-migrants-organised-by-mieu/ The European Union is supporting the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of the 2019 Global Forum on Migration...

The first of a series of four regional workshops ahead of the Quito Summit in November will gather representatives from academia, national and local-level government and civil society to exchange experiences in how to deliver services and apply innovative and rights-based approaches for the social and economic inclusion of migrants. 

The need for social and economic inclusion of migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean

Governments in the region of Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) face a number of crises that are leading to increasing migration flows. UNHCR has estimated that by summer 2019 over four million Venezuelans have been displaced to neighbouring countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Brazil among others, while caravans of migrants, including women and young children, are in transit through Central America.  In view of these migratory flows, the Ecuadorian Government is placing special emphasis on the crucial role played by local governments and cities as first responders with respect to newcomers.

These events are pushing governments in the region to seek effective practices to adapt and implement locally in order to provide access to housing and the labour market and encourage political participation for migrants, as well as to deal with growing expressions of xenophobia. The European Union’s past and ongoing experiences, policies and practices in these areas can provide valuable source of lessons learnt and practical solutions for LAC.

Inter-regional cooperation for improved international migration governance

The workshop responds to one of the priorities of the Ecuadorian GFMD Chairmanship to engage regional stakeholders in meaningful dialogue ahead of the Quito Summit and will feature European practices such as the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) and Barcelona City Council´s Service Centre for Immigrants, Emigrants and Refugees. A wide array of stakeholders, among which representatives from local and central governments, academia, civil society and international organisations, will gather to contribute through these discussions to the supporting documents for the Summit´s Round-table 1.2. “Facilitating social and economic inclusion” of the GFMD 2019 agenda.

As Mr. Oleg Chirita, Head of Programme, Global Initiatives, ICMPD stated, “The recent turn of events in Latin America and the Caribbean bears a striking resemblance to what European Union Member States faced in 2015 and 2016.  We are glad to support the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of the GFMD in analysing, sharing, contrasting and adapting European practices to the Latin American context. In doing so, these workshops contribute, among others, to the New European Consensus on Development, which promotes strengthened engagement to facilitate the safe, orderly, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies”.

The GFMD and the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of 2019

Created in 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a state-led, informal and non-binding process, which helps shape the global debate on migration and development. Now in its twelfth edition, the GFMD Summit will be held in the week of 18-22 November 2019 in Quito, Ecuador under the theme “Sustainable approaches to human mobility: Upholding rights, strengthening state agency, and advancing development through partnerships and collective action.” 

Ecuador’s GFMD 2019 Chairmanship comes at a timely moment for global migration governance, given the inclusion of migration-related targets in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the adoption of the two Global Compacts on Refugees (GCR) and on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in 2018.  The Chairmanship is keen to nurture common ground among governments who may have differing views on the GCM while exploring complementarities of the two Global Compacts in line with commitments made in the New York Declaration of 2016.

Four regional workshops will take place between July and October 2019 involving regional stakeholders, as part of a set of concrete priorities that the 2019 GFMD Chair has put in place to enhance the GFMD process this year and beyond. In line with topics of the 12th GFMD Summit roundtables, the regional workshops will focus on social and economic inclusion of migrants; migration, rural transformation and development; legal pathways; and the role of cities in migration governance.

MIEUX and the 2019 GFMD

In line with one of its main objectives, MIEUX is providing relevant European expertise and content support to the Government of Ecuador in relation to the GFMD 2019 process. Specifically, MIEUX is assisting Ecuador with organising a series of regional workshops that should not only contribute directly to the thematic round-tables of the Quito Summit and to the background papers, but also function as standalone events that advance the global debate on migration and development. Targeting different stakeholders, such as local and central governments, academia, civil society, and regional stakeholders, this series of regional workshops aims at setting up a future-oriented regional model that could be utilised by future GFMD chairs in their respective regions.

Background information

Created in 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a state-led, informal and non-binding process, which helps shape the global debate on migration and development. It provides a flexible, multi-stakeholder space where governments can discuss the multi-dimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to migration, development, and the link between these two areas. The GFMD process allows governments - in partnership with civil society, the private sector, the UN system, and other relevant stakeholders – to analyse and discuss sensitive issues, create consensus, pose innovative solutions, and share policy and practices.

MIEUX (MIgration EU eXpertise) is a peer-to-peer experts’ facility, which supports partner countries and regional organisations to better manage migration and mobility through the provision of rapid, tailor-made assistance upon request. Since 2009, over 100 countries across the world have benefited from MIEUX capacity building activities delivered by over 400 migration experts.  MIEUX is a joint initiative funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 14:06:16 +0200
Project News: Academia Conference II on inclusive migration governance in North Africa, in Tunis https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-academia-conference-ii-on-inclusive-migration-governance-in-north-africa-in-tunis/ The Academia Conference II entitled “Towards an Inclusive Migration Governance in North Africa”...

The conference created an opportunity to discuss regional dynamics of migration and further develop a sustainable and rational understanding. The event gathered around 80 participants, including African and European researchers and experts, representatives of institutions embassies, international and non-governmental organisations, as well as from the private sector. All participants are working on different aspects in the field of migration in Africa with a particular interest in migration knowledge production and dissemination.

The conference was organised in the framework of the ICMPD projects “Strategic and institutional management of migration in Libya” (Libya Project) and “Evidence-driven Migration Governance Policy and Practice in North Africa (eMGPP)”. The Libya Project aims to support not only the  the Government Institutions but alsothe Libyan academics and researchers  who contribute to the development for effective migration governance, geared towards improving the management of migration flows and the living conditions of migrants in Libya. The eMGPP project aims to generate, operationalise and disseminate knowledge, research and evidence to inform and strengthen migration policy in North Africa.

The objective of this conference was to debate the state of play of research on migration issues in North Africa, while keeping a particular interest on Libya, Saharan Africa and Europe, given their roles in the configuration of migration flows in the region, as the main migrant origin - transit - and destination areas. The conference confronted different points of view from various disciplines of research and practice. Thus, knowledge was shared, developments described and contexts analysed in relation to the developments at global and regional levels.

The two days of exchange were vividly touching upon a variety of topics such as labour migration, border management, protection of migrants and refugees, regional integration and smuggling of migrants. It was highlighted that migration is not a problem per se but its governance and the context in which it takes place could be problematic. Migration challenges in Libya today were linked to the prevailing political situation. ICMPD is supporting initiatives that promote research to guide policy makers in understanding challenges and seizing opportunities. Subsequently, the conference was also meant to be a laboratory of ideas to inspire and guide future reflection and research in North Africa, especially with the eminent launch of the North AfricA Migration Academic Network (NAMAN). 

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 10:22:17 +0200
Project News: MMD Support Project – Rabat Process organised Thematic Meeting on Border Management https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-mmd-support-project-rabat-process-organised-thematic-meeting-on-border-management/ The Rabat Process organised a high level Thematic Meeting on “Cooperation between Countries of...

The meeting, held under the co-chairmanship of the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Morocco, gathered 80 participants representing 33 partner countries of the Dialogue (of which 13 were European and 20 were African countries), the EU Delegation and ICMPD experts.

For the first time Lebanon – a country that is not partner of the Dialogue – was invited to join the discussions in order to share its knowledge of and experience in border management. The meeting focused on good practices for bilateral and regional cooperation in the fields of combating irregular immigration and, more broadly, border management. Experts with technical knowledge i.e. members of the armed forces, the police, customs or the border guards from African and European countries shared their experience with their counterparts. Several projects and programmes illustrating cooperation practices in this area, and the backgrounds against which these initiatives were developed, were presented by actors involved in their implementation, helping to make partners aware of the challenges and constraints encountered. ICMPD’s expertise in Africa and the Middle East showcasing projects implemented by the organisation in Tunisia, Morocco, and Lebanon brought added value to the discussions.

In recognition of the importance of this topic for the partners, high officials – such as Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Spanish Minister of the Interior; Khalid Zerouali, Director of the Migration and Border Surveillance Directorate of the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior; Paraskevi Michou, Director-General of DG HOME; Jean-Marie Bruno, Head of the International and European Affairs Department of the Directorate General for Foreigners in France and Martijn Pluim, Director of Migration Dialogues and Cooperation at ICMPD – addressed participants during the opening ceremony. They presented good practices jointly implemented by African and European partners in the field of border management and expressed the need to continue working to expand and intensify the cooperation in this field, as a key component of a comprehensive, effective and balanced migration policy.

Cooperation and adaptation as key steps to move forward

During the meeting, all participants underlined that border management challenges cannot be overcome by one single country and that strong regional coordination is needed. Furthermore, the experts emphasised the evolving character of the concept of borders. As within Africa (i.e. Economic Community of West African States free movement zone) and Europe (i.e. Schengen) open borders are promoted, there is a need to be part of a connected framework and information-sharing system. The challenge of balancing the right to free movement and the right of states to manage their borders was also highlighted. 

The participants agreed that, in order to meet the challenges of border management coordination, adaptation to the environment and resources available, and mutual learning are needed. In that regard, the practical focus of the Rabat Process and the platform which it offers for informal exchanges between peers, has been, and will continue to be particularly relevant.

Context of the Thematic Meeting

In recent years, the fight against irregular immigration, migrant smuggling and – more broadly, border management – are themes on which States in the Rabat Process region have increasingly focused their attention. This has revealed a common interest in identifying possible solutions between countries of origin, transit and destination along the migration routes linking Western, Central and North Africa and Europe. Since its inception, the Rabat Process has paid particular attention to the objective of strengthening national border management capacity. For example, the subject was included in the first Political Declaration signed in Rabat in 2006, and in subsequent Ministerial Declarations. Furthermore, it is a priority for the Dialogue under the current strategic framework (the Marrakesh Political Declaration and Action Plan 2018-2020).

For more information, please visit the Rabat Process website in EN and FR.

Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:32:30 +0200
Project News: ICMPD supports Turkey with a new voluntary return and reintegration programme https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-icmpd-supports-turkey-with-a-new-voluntary-return-and-reintegration-programme/ ICMPD organised a roundtable discussion among Turkish institutions and European Return and... During the roundtable, participants from the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were presented a number of best practice examples in the sphere of national assisted voluntary return and reintegration. 

The shared examples concerned the National Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme of France, the EU’s policy trends in the field of AVR and Reintegration. Further, ERRIN was broadly introduced, including its functioning and the scope of activities, institutional set-up, management structure, membership and observatory status, funding mechanism it’s cooperation with partner organisations and with countries of origin. 

The roundtable also included discussions on possible cooperation of DGMM with ERRIN as well as explored the possible role of the Turkish partner organisations in the reintegration programme. 

The participants discussed on a roadmap for the future and next steps to be taken in view of the establishment of Turkey’s National AVR and the development of a Reintegration Mechanism, where ICMPD and ERRIN assured their support and further cooperation for establishment of the latter mechanism.

The roundtable  was organised under ICMPD’s SUPREME - TR project “Strengthening Utilization of Additional Policies and Measures for Reinforcing Migration Management in Turkey”, which is funded by the United Kingdom and aims at further strengthening migration management in Turkey in a complementary manner in order to cover all indispensable elements of the fully-fledged work in this area. The project is focusing on strengthening the development of policies and operational strategies, enhancing cooperation with countries of origin, supporting the well-functioning of the national assisted voluntary return operations and exploring possibilities for introducing reintegration policies and programmes.

More information on the SUPREME - TR project can be found here

Fri, 12 Jul 2019 13:39:32 +0200
Project News: ICMPD Summer School 2019 took place in Kachreti, Georgia https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-icmpd-summer-school-2019-took-place-in-kachreti-georgia/ From 30 June to 6 July 2019, ICMPD organised one of the biggest international training programme...

Funded by the European Union, this summer school targeted young professionals, government employees, students and civil society representatives. “This international summer school has profound implications for the future management of migration and integration in the region, as these early career professionals and talented students will one day be shaping these nations’ migration policies”, highlighted Violeta Wagner, ICMPD’s Regional Portfolio Manager for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. 

Participants received training on various migration-related issues ranging from economics, law, human rights, development, media, to statistics and integration. The summer school’s teachers and professors represented some of the world’s leading universities, including the Universities of Oxford and Sussex in the UK, the Universities of Maastricht and Leiden in the Netherlands and the Sorbonne.

While the past summer schools targeted students from Georgia and Azerbaijan only, its sixth edition expanded to the participating states of the Prague Process. As a result, it gathered participants from 16 nations: Georgia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Northern Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

More information on ICMPD’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Region’s projects can be found here

Wed, 10 Jul 2019 17:04:48 +0200
Project News: Enhancing Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Region https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-enhancing-integrated-border-management-in-the-silk-routes-region/ The launch of a new EU-funded Integrated Border Management project seeks to optimise prosperity and...

The success or failure of multiple processes depend on the operation of well governed borders, whether it be the transit of cargo containers of food and agricultural produce; business people flying to meet their associates; refugees fleeing insecurity or natural disasters; or farming communities that must cross a national boundary as part of daily or seasonal work patterns. 

In parallel, optimal prosperity can only be achieved in an environment where the safe and orderly movement of people and goods across borders is guaranteed. Effective border governance plays a key role in national efforts to prevent the smuggling of counterfeit and prohibited goods, combatting organised crime, counter-terrorism, anti-corruption, and guaranteeing the safety of travellers, migrants and refugees. 

As such, the Integrated Border Management (IBM) concept seeks to promote trade, mobility and stability through development of a single, comprehensive border governance framework that ensures coordination between all relevant border agencies and stakeholders across all areas of border management. 

Senior government officials and representatives of border management agencies from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan gathered in Istanbul, Turkey from 24 – 26 June 2019 for the launch of the Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Countries (IBM Silk Routes) project. The new initiative, funded by the European Commission, seeks to support the countries of the Silk Routes region in facilitating the safe and efficient transit of people and goods across borders. The project will support this objective by developing the national capacities and systems in place for border management, such as through the development of National IBM Strategies and Action Plans, supporting training and educational capacity development for border agencies, and facilitating the strengthening of regional and international knowledge exchange and cooperation networks on relevant border management issues. Representatives from the European Commission, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), and the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also joined ICMPD and the country delegations during the launch event.

Mr. Martijn Pluim, Director Migration Dialogues and Cooperation for ICMPD, opened the launch event, noting that “well-functioning and efficient borders are the foundation that supports regional mobility and development.” He was accompanied by Mr. Robert Jan-Sieben, International Aid and Cooperation Officer from DG DEVCO, who highlighted the ongoing partnership of the European Union with the participating countries, as well as the potential for “well-managed borders to create the conditions for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth”. 

Participants from the Silk Routes countries at the event also welcomed the initiative, citing variously the hope that the project shall contribute to reviving and enhancing the economic potential of the historic Silk Road networks that traversed the region; the importance of such regional initiatives to enhance trade facilitation and border security; and appreciation for the flexible nature of the IBM Silk Routes project to adapt to the individual geographic, economic and social contexts in each participating country. 

The IBM Silk Routes project is funded by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD from 1 January 2019 for 48 months. The project seeks to support the authorities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan in building more effective and efficient border management systems. 

For more information, please contact: IBM_Silk_Routes@icmpd.org

Wed, 03 Jul 2019 11:01:12 +0200
Project News: Sfax Municipality hosts MC2CM event in urban migration governance https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-sfax-municipality-hosts-mc2cm-event-in-urban-migration-governance/ On 25-26 June 2019, the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration project (MC2CM) held its second...

Hosted by the Municipality of Sfax, Tunisia, the event convened more than 60 participants representing 17 cities of the Euro-Mediterranean region, 4 networks of cities, 10 civil society organisations, as well as local and international experts. The event tackled the realities, challenges and opportunities brought about by cooperating with civil society organisations in the field of migration in cities. 

The MC2CM Policy Recommendations highlight that “effective integration measures and inclusive policies require multi-stakeholder governance mechanisms. Civil society organisations (CSOs) are necessary to provide or support access to public services. Their role is also crucial in helping local communities to understand diversity without tensions and to explore common values”. 

In this sense, participants recognise the role and added value of the local civil society in supporting rights-based migration governance. However, cooperation with CSOs and NGOs brings about a number of challenges, including the allocation of resources, sharing of competences, training of staff, communication to beneficiaries, and coordination mechanisms. 

The conclusions and recommendations extracted from this event pave the way for MC2CM’s work on multi-level governance in cities. Indeed, in the framework of its first Call for Targeted City Actions, MC2CM awarded grants to a number of cities and their civil society partners to implement local projects seeking to improve access to rights and services, and social cohesion. 

Participants to the event were selected following a competitive application process, and tested innovative learning and exchange methodologies, such as interactive presentations and story-telling. 

Wed, 03 Jul 2019 09:28:20 +0200
Expert voice: Migration policy-making in times of crisis https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/expert-voice-migration-policy-making-in-times-of-crisis/ In the past years, the terms migration and crisis have been closely linked to one another in...

By Daria Huss

Crisis communication and a constructive ‘framing’ of the crisis 

The framing of a situation as a crisis influences how it is perceived and addressed, and is often contested. In this context, it is important to ask ‘who’ frames a situation as a crisis, what are the intentions behind this framing, and how it is communicated to the wider public.

Some media – especially tabloid newspapers – are likely to take a sensationalist approach to their reporting on controversial issues such as migration. The 2015/16 crisis, for example, was often portrayed as a situation over which the authorities had lost control, creating fears and feelings of uncertainty among the population and leading to or accentuating existing anti-immigration sentiments. Also populist parties tend to use a strong ‘crisis’ framing in their own communication to capitalise on such sentiments ahead of elections. Civil society organisations, in contrast, often play a role in countering such anti-immigrant sentiments and in framing a situation of increased inflows under the perspective of solidarity and in creating a ‘welcome culture’ through active engagement and volunteering.

In migration crisis situations it is important to build trust in the institutional capacities to handle the situation by providing the population with up-to-date information on how the situation is developing and how it is managed. In this context, the relevant authorities have an important role in reaching out to the public and keeping them informed – for example through press releases or dedicated websites. Furthermore, beyond the immediate crisis communication, a balanced narrative on migration and the provision of objective information on migration to a broader public may help to mitigate unfounded fears of the population and anti-immigrant sentiments. Such balanced narrative should involve reporting both on the opportunities and on the challenges of migratory movements, taking into account both the perspectives of the hosting society and the migrants, and at a broader level, those of countries of origin, transit and destination alike.

The impact of migration crises on policymaking 

Besides their impact on the public perception of migration, migration crisis situations also affect policy-making processes in the field of migration. The policy-making process is often described as a ‘policy cycle’ comprised of different stages, including agenda-setting, policy formulation, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation. In an ideal scenario, these stages are guided by an inclusive and evidence-informed approach in which the policy-making process builds upon the consultation of relevant stakeholders and findings from research and policy analysis. 

However, due to the high time pressure under which policies are developed in times of crisis and the polarisation of public and political discourse, it becomes ever more difficult to follow the stages of the policy cycle in an evidence-informed and inclusive manner. There is a higher risk of results of research and analysis being contested and of expert advice being used to legitimise policy choices ex post rather than to build a basis for policy design. At the same time, crises may also trigger an increased academic interest and research on relevant topics. As crises require quick reactions and do not usually leave time for long-term planning, policy-making is often more reactive rather than forward-looking. Also the roles of relevant actors in the policy cycle may be strengthened or weakened in the course of crisis situations. The role of cities and municipalities, for example, turned out to be particularly prominent in managing the reception of new arrivals during the so-called 2015/16 migration and asylum crisis and in providing integration support to refugees. 

Crises can disrupt the policy cycle, and prevent the passing of policy projects that have already been underway and are blocked by the changed situation. However, crises can also have the opposite effect and open policy windows, as specific policy areas become a priority, and policy proposals are passed that would otherwise not have been politically feasible. Yet, even if a crisis situation does not directly lead to the passing of new policies, it may trigger important policy debates. At the EU level for example, increasing numbers of arrivals in the years 2015/16 showed a clear need for a reform of the Common European Asylum System, including a fair responsibility-sharing mechanism. The circumstances triggered intense political debate on these issues, although no political agreement could be found due to the diverging positions among EU Member States.

Learning from the crisis 

The last stage of the policy cycle – evaluation – can be considered specifically important in the context of crisis, as each crisis can be seen as an opportunity for learning and improvement. Migration and asylum systems and their functioning should be thoroughly monitored and evaluated – especially in times of crisis – to identify gaps and compile lessons learnt for the future. The same applies to immediate crisis response measures. 

Lessons learnt from the 2015/16 crisis, for example, have shown that challenges in managing the situation resulted not so much from the sheer numbers but rather from the unpredictability of inflows and the institutional unpreparedness, a lack of coordination among the actors who played a role in addressing the situation, as well as a lack of flexibility in adapting institutional capacities to the needs on the ground. 

This unpredictability of inflows and institutional unpreparedness resulted from a lack of timely and accurate information on the migration routes and expected numbers of arrivals, which could have helped the authorities to prepare for increased numbers of inflows. Ongoing analysis and the production of forecasts on expected migration movements, as well as enhanced information exchange with relevant actors in countries of origin and transit could help providing such information in the future. 

Furthermore, mechanisms such as contingency plans, institutional focal points for crisis situations, as well as dedicated training programmes on crisis management for relevant staff can help to ensure better institutional preparedness in the future. Inter-institutional coordination mechanisms should be made fit for the increased coordination needs in crises. An innovative example is the establishment of ‘arrival centres’ in Germany, where the relevant authorities who play a role in reception and accommodation of the new arrivals – from security services to welfare offices – have been placed under one roof to facilitate cooperation. Furthermore, in countries with a strong ‘welcome culture’, dedicated volunteer coordinators can help to ensure that the contributions of volunteers are used as efficiently as possible.  

Relevant authorities also need to have the possibility to increase staffing if a crisis situation requires enhanced institutional capacities. The streamlining of workflows, for example by introducing fast track procedures for applicants with a high prospect of being granted international protection, or new technologies, such as virtual interpretation services, may render the asylum system more effective. 


Migration crises, and especially how they are framed, have a significant impact on migration policy-making and on the public and political discourse on migration. As the migration topic is likely to remain contested and lend itself to short-term political gains, it is ever more important to provide balanced and objective information on migration now and in the future.

In order to mitigate the negative effects a crisis situation may have on the policy cycle and on an inclusive and evidence-informed approach to policy making, it is also critical to ensure that institutional structures are in place that facilitate the coordination and cooperation with relevant stakeholders, as well as the quick access to objective, independent evidence. 

Migration crisis situations, however, also provide opportunities and can serve as a reality check for the migration and asylum systems in place. The 2015/16 European migration and asylum crisis, for example, marked a turning point for European migration and asylum policies as it triggered a political debate on a reform of the Common European Asylum System and a fair responsibility-sharing mechanism. Although politically controversial, such policy changes – along with enhanced crisis preparedness mechanisms – should contribute to avoiding similar crises in the future – or at least to reducing their scale and impact. 

This article is based on the report The Migration Policy Cycle and Migration Crisis Response. A Comparative Report Covering Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom (EN, TR) that has been produced in the context of the ‘Supporting Migration Policy Development in Turkey (MIND)’ project, co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of ICMPD.

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Mon, 01 Jul 2019 13:16:00 +0200