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, 10 Jul 2020 11:23:06 +0200 Project News: Virtual expert meeting on European border management in the framework of ICMPD’s Annual Policy Initiative 2020 (API) https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-virtual-expert-meeting-on-european-border-management-in-the-framework-of-icmpds-annua/ On 8th July, State Secretariat for Migration of Switzerland and International Centre for Migration... The event was focused on the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for mobility to and within Europe and for European border management, stimulating an exchange of experiences and views among senior experts and practitioners involved in border management and cross-border mobility issues. 

During the meeting, participants reflected on the impacts of the current crisis on Schengen states and border communities as well as the role of technology in supporting border management and public health functions. They highlighted the main challenges they have faced during the crisis and how national and EU border management systems have reacted. 

Experts also discussed lessons learnt thus far regarding borders, security and mobility, including possible future scenarios and ways to prevent and mitigate negative consequences in the future. They also underscored the need to develop a crisis-resilient border management system in Europe. Finally, participants explored the regional and global dimensions of the crisis and its mobility implications, underlining the need for stronger international cooperation.

About the project

ICMPD is dedicating its API 2020 to the issue of safeguarding human and public security in the context of migration. The overall purpose of the API is to contribute to an analysis of the migration-security nexus, to further stimulate policy and strategic discussions and to propose policy recommendations for strengthened migration governance.

More information on API can be found here.

Fri, 10 Jul 2020 11:23:06 +0200
ICMPD Around the Globe: The future of the AU-EU partnership on migration and mobility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/icmpd-around-the-globe-the-future-of-the-au-eu-partnership-on-migration-and-mobility-in-light-of-th/ On 9 July 2020 ICMPD hosted a high-level public webinar on “the future of the AU-EU partnership on... The ICMPD Director Migration Dialogues and Cooperation, Martijn Plum moderated the discussion with H.E. Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs, AUC, H.E. Cessouma Minata Samate, Commissioner for Political Affairs, AUC, H.E. Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, EC. ICMPD Director General Michael Spindelegger gave a scene-setting opening speech in which he spoke about the current plans of EU-AU partnership: “The vision of bringing this [AU-EU] partnership to new heights was set by the European Commission in its March Communication ‘Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa’.” With the newly emerged situation “[…] the EU’s Global Response to the COVID-19 from April 2020, is to focus on the most vulnerable people in Africa, including migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and their host communities. This is certainly the right step into the right direction.” The high-level event was concluded by Ambassador Birgitte Markussen, Deputy Managing Director, EEAS.

About 350 people attended the high-level public webinar.

Download the speech by ICMPD Director General here.

Watch a recording of the webinar here.

Thu, 09 Jul 2020 12:29:46 +0200
Project News: Virtual exchange on EU-India Remittance Corridor and COVID-19 https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-virtual-exchange-on-eu-india-remittance-corridor-and-covid-19/ On the 18th June 2020, during International Remittance Week, the EU-India CDMM project, implemented...

Special consideration was paid to the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic, recovery plans, and challenges faced by migrant workers within the EU-India remittance corridor. The exchange represented the second, in a series of webinars planned for 2020, to help sustain dialogue between the European Union and the Government of India. Each event is founded upon joint policy objectives within the field of migration and mobility as outlined in the EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM). 

The programme begun with Ms. Sedef Dearing, ICMPD’s Regional Coordinator for South Asia, welcoming all participants and speakers. Her remarks were followed by an expert panel, co-chaired by Mr. Pieyush Gupta, Director at Overseas Indian Affairs -1, Ministry of External Affairs, and Mr. Erwan Marteil, Head of the Migration Section, DG International Cooperation and Development. 

The invited speakers included:

  • Mr. Heliodoro Temprano Arroyo, European Commission
  • Mr. Harish Natarajan, World Bank
  • Mr. Pedro De Vasconcelos, International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • EU Member States (Belgium and France) Development Agencies
  • Dr. Rupa Chanda, IIM Bangalore
  • Mr. Rajeev Jain and Mr. Dhirendra Gajbhiye, Reserve Bank of India
  • Mr. Leon Isaacs, DMA Global

Participants engaged in active discussions addressing the following topics:

  • How can we best assess the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on remittance flows between the EU and India (volatility, operational disruptions)?
  • Which challenges did - and do - migrant workers from India in the EU face related to sending remittances home (high transaction costs/financial inclusion/dearth of digital solutions)?
  • Which practices exist in EU Member States to maximise the developmental impact of remittances in countries of origin (specifically, improved transparency via platforms for diaspora on remittance costs, hotlines, increased investment in digital solutions)?
  • Which bilateral agreements are in place and how can we enhance cooperation within them on remittances?
  • What is the role of the private sector?

A report summarising the two-hour exchange, highlighting key findings, and offering future collaboration channels, is in the works by ICMPD and will be disseminated to relevant policy and political representatives.

Mon, 29 Jun 2020 17:11:01 +0200
Project News: COVID-19 supplies for Lebanese border and security agencies https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-covid-19-supplies-for-lebanese-border-and-security-agencies/ Within the framework of the EU-funded project IBM Phase II in Lebanon, ICMPD facilitated the...

COVID-19 prevention supplies were delivered to the Lebanese border and security agencies that are partners in EU funded project Integrated Border Management (IBM) in Lebanon, Phase II, implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). Donated by the European Union, these supplies are meant to support Lebanon in combatting this pandemic and addressing the challenges it poses on border and security agencies, especially in light of the planned gradual reopening of border crossings that requires introducing new mechanisms to equally ensure the safety and health of both employees and travellers.

The COVID-19 prevention supplies, valued at EUR 110,000, were delivered in the presence of the Ambassador of the European Union Ralph Tarraf and representatives of ICMPD as well as the five project partners: Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Internal Security Forces (ISF), General Security (GS), Lebanese Customs Administration (LCA) and Lebanese Civil Defence (LCD). In response to this pandemic, the procurement and delivery of these supplies followed close coordination with the Lebanese agencies to identify their most pressing needs that can be promptly catered for through a pool of Lebanon-based suppliers.

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 18:37:36 +0200
Interview with ICMPD Director General https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/interview-with-icmpd-director-general/ On the occasion of the release of ICMPD's Annual Report 2019, we interviewed the Director General...

Since 2015, migration has been an ongoing topic of public debate. How has this debate evolved? 

Since 2015/2016, there has been a tremendous amount of public attention given to the topic of migration. In fact, it has become one of the critical issues of our time on a level with topics such as climate change or digitization. It is therefore all the more regrettable that the public debate on this topic is still very emotional and highly polarized. This is why ICMPD views one of its main tasks as being to put this debate back on a factual footing.

The European Union has a new Commission, a new parliament and a New Green Deal. It still does not have an answer for solving the problems within the Dublin System. What does a solution need to actually work?

First of all, it is crucial not to start the discussion at the level of details, specific problems and technical challenges. If you start it at this level, it is very likely to get stuck there. The top priority is to discuss and agree on the overarching goals, the ‘big picture’. If the European Union manages to develop these overarching goals, we will also be able to answer all the other questions about details and technicalities as well.

Will climate change be a stronger driver for migration in the future? What are ICMPD’s thoughts on this?

Yes, we believe that climate change could develop into one of the major drivers of displacement on a level comparable to violent conflicts as drivers of displacement today. As regards the effects of climate change, we, like most other experts, expect them to result in mainly internal displacement and migration within countries. In the long run, climate change could become a driver for international migration, too, when previously mobilised people move across state borders.

Of the current global or regional developments – which ones is ICMPD following most closely?

Naturally, we try to follow all developments that might become relevant to international migration. 

However, if asked to highlight some of these developments, I would point to the rather recent development regarding displacement in South America. The displacement crisis in Latin America is one of the biggest in the world. In the meantime, many citizens of Venezuela or Colombia are moving to Spain and might try to reach other European destinations in the future as well. 

Similarly, the situation in Libya is always a critical one in terms of asylum and irregular migration flows to Europe. Finally, Afghanistan continues to be the major source of asylum seekers coming to Europe and we must watch the secondary movements of Afghans from Iran and Turkey very closely. 

In your recent experience, have you seen legal migration become a broader topic in Europe and elsewhere? Are there projects that work? Does ICMPD have a part to play in this?

Often neglected in the public debate, labour migration has been a key issue for Europe in the past and it will remain a key issue in the future. Simply because of demographic developments, Europe will need migrants. The question is how well it will manage the underlying processes. This is why it is crucial to develop legal pathways for labour migration and a systematic approach to it. It will be necessary to discuss these issues with the countries of origin and to build strong and reliable partnerships with them. 

What has the year brought for ICMPD so far, taken aside COVID-19 related restrictions?

We are very proud that Germany became our new Member State. ICMPD is also working closely with the European Institutions and the EU Member States to bring about the New Pact on Migration and Asylum that was announced by the European Commission. In this and many other respects, ICMPD keeps striving to become the main contact point for migration issues in Europe.

This interview was first conducted for the ICMPD Annual Report and presented here in a shortened version. Read the full interview and find all the information about ICMPD in the ICMPD Annual Report 2019

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 16:35:32 +0200
Project News: ICMPD helps optimise work of Ukrainian border guards and customs officers https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-icmpd-helps-optimise-work-of-ukrainian-border-guards-and-customs-officers/ On June 19, 2020, ICMPD has completed the delivery of two week-long training sessions for the... The trainings were delivered on 9-19 June to 26 SBGS and SCS representatives who will become internal ‘agents of change’. The trainers presented the participants the methodologies and tools allowing them to review, shorten or simplify working processes so as to reduce time and optimize the involvement of staff, resources and efforts of the organization, and therefore eventually deliver better results with less public money.
In the coming weeks, the teams comprising of trained SBGS and SCS staff, EU4IBM national and international experts will launch the actual analysis and reengineering of previously selected processes related to integrated border management. The optimization will cover whole areas and sectors of IBM agencies’ work, interagency coordination as well as cross-border cooperation. The results of business process analysis and reengineering will also serve as a basis for a more effective national IBM policy, rationalised border controls and more accurate analysis of risks, better interagency and cross-border coordination and exchange of information with neighbouring countries.

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 11:22:02 +0200
Project News: MC2CM Hosts a 4-day online peer-learning event https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-mc2cm-hosts-a-4-day-online-peer-learning-event/ Between 15 and 18 June 2020, the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration project (MC2CM) hosted a...

The event, implemented by ICMPD and co-organized by UCLG, Un-Habitat under the patronage of municipality of Seville and FAMSI (Andalusian Found of Municipalities for International Solidarity), aimed to explore the ways local governments and authorities can rebalance the migration narrative via the analysis and implementation of solid and professional communication practices. In particular, the participants could take part in dedicated breakout sessions with renowned migration and communication experts in campaigning, public narratives and attitudes to migration, curbing disinformation and press relations. 

The migration narrative in the Euro-Mediterranean region has been skewed by the predominance of dramatic presentations of treacherous journeys and harsh enforcement measures. Publics across the region are presented with polarizing images: either stressing the humanitarian plight of desperate migrants who risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean or coverage that depicts migration as a threat to the security, welfare, culture and lately even the health of host communities. This coverage places fringe experiences at the centre of public discourse and contributes to radicalizing public opinion. Such polarization impairs policymaking, by pushing policy drafting towards meeting perceptions rather than evidence.

In this context, the COVID 19 pandemic presents both an opportunity and a threat. The overwhelming, constructive presence of migrants in what publics now see are essential worker roles from hospital cleaners and transport workers to food delivery agents, to frontline doctors and nurses, has been widely acknowledged. However, the counterbalance to this increased realisation in wealthier countries of their reliance on migration is that the pandemic has also awoken deep fears and subjected millions of people to isolation and economic insecurity.

As pointed out numerous times during the event, all levels of governance must work together, both horizontally and vertically, to meet the moment to foster a more balanced migration narrative. Cities acknowledge and embrace their own role as active agents in migration governance but need to complement their work on the ground with effective communication. While cities participating in the event took a step forward in identifying the gaps in their own actions, they also recalled their needs, in particular when it comes to legislative frameworks, access to knowledge and funding.

The main recommendations shared include the training of communication staff, the implementation of more frequent local campaigns or the involvement of the communities in building and sharing messages on migration. Cities also underlined the need for more coordination and awareness raising at national level, the will to receive training, share peers’ practices and their lack of resources and expertise. Therefore, they call on the involvement and support of national authorities and international organisations to support them to improve urban migration.

What cities learn is too often invisible and unheard of in the processes delivering national migration policy. Left unaddressed, these gaps can lead to disconnection between cities and national governments, fostering competing narratives about migration and generating policy voids that hinder social cohesion and reduces the quality of life for all inhabitants.

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 12:59:09 +0200
Project News: Webinar on return patterns and policies in the context of EU-mobility and COVID-19 https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/project-news-webinar-on-return-patterns-and-policies-in-the-context-of-eu-mobility-and-covid-19/ On 17 June, the TALENTAS project organised a virtual expert discussion to discuss practical...

During the event, participants explored the responses and measures initiated in the respective countries and good practices currently being put in place.

Free movement of labour within the EU has led to unprecedented possibilities for EU citizens to improve their lives by moving to Member States with higher incomes and more job opportunities. However, the consequences for Member States that are mostly origin countries have so far received little attention. Despite the relatively good economic situation and growing wages in many of countries, return migration has been much smaller in scale than anticipated. Facing increasing pressures on their domestic labour markets, a number of Member States have started to develop policies aimed at attracting their citizens to return to the country - some more pro-actively than others.

Most EU Member States do not have a stand-alone and comprehensive policy to attract their citizens to return; such elements rather form part of other policies, such as diaspora policies. A number of states have also established return policies as part of broader migration strategies; return might also constitute an important element of development policies. Integration policies also play a role, as returning emigrants and their families have some similar settlement needs compared with immigrants. Moreover, return policies are seen as a dimension of talent attraction: While a few countries pursue a welfare-oriented approach, i.e. supporting emigrants who are in distress situations abroad, the return of emigrants has primarily received attention among policymakers and the private sector in the context of the global competition for talent.

This event was organised within the project ‘Developing a strategy for the implementation of a talent policy in Lithuania (TALENTAS),’ which is being implemented by ICMPD in cooperation with the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy and Innovation and the Government Agency Invest Lithuania and funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM). The objective of TALENTAS is to contribute to the attraction and retention of higher numbers of talents in Lithuania, including students, graduates, and highly skilled Lithuanians living abroad. It targets relevant Lithuanian public institutions, employers and universities in order to increase their institutional capacities to formulate, develop and implement policies and actions.

More information on the project can be found here.

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 10:34:18 +0200
Expert Voice: Schengen’s summertime blues https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/expert-voice-schengens-summertime-blues/ By 1 July, free movement should once again be a reality within the EU’s passport-free zone, more or... By Hugo Brady

The Great European Summer is back on. This week, EU countries began lifting COVID-19 restrictions on non-essential travel within the Union, whilst gradually relaxing the internal border controls they introduced back in March. Airport testing and mandatory quarantine requirements are set to dwindle to spot checks and heightened vigilance in July and August. What can go wrong? Actually, a lot.


An uneven opening


First, do not expect a simultaneous, uniform re-opening. National approaches will continue to differ based on threat perception. The Central and Eastern Europeans worry the summer easing could be premature and will lift restrictions only gingerly. Portugal, Spain and Italy (the latter two with around 30,000 fatalities each) are torn between continuing quarantine and the fact that tourism accounts for over 10 per cent of their economies. Travellers from EU countries with the highest per capita infections will continue to face quarantine requirements in Austria, Denmark and Greece, amongst others. This includes Spain, Britain — the worst affected with over 40,000 deaths – and Sweden. (Britain exited the EU in January but remains in the single market until the end of the year.)


Second, even one bad outbreak in a popular destination could mean thousands of stranded travellers and perhaps a depressing resumption of national lockdowns. Greece has announced it will “welcome the world” from 1 July, using a series of measures to mitigate this danger, from outdoor hotel check-ins to enforcement of social distancing on beaches by talking drones. Although not its original purpose, the Greek government uses the European Aviation Safety Authority’s airport watch-list as a basis for deciding which regions’ arrivals — whether EU or third country — should face mandatory testing and monitored 14-day quarantine. Schengen’s decentralised governance model, now in operation for over 25 years, means that national authorities rely on tools like the EASA list as a reference point for their individual actions.


Despite the clear risks, the right mix of precautionary measures can save Europe’s summer. Tourism-reliant countries will deploy an avalanche of Plexiglas in key destinations, longer ‘cooling off’ periods between guests for hotel rooms, and the use of contact tracing apps to control and limit outbreaks. Each Schengen country appears to be producing their own app, including Switzerland and Iceland. The European Commission wants to ensure these are interoperable to support the restoration of free movement. This week it also launches its own real-time website and app, ‘Re-open EU’, to help travellers navigate this summer’s uneven landscape of remaining travel restrictions.


Deciding who is safe


Then there is the crucial question of what to do about the EU’s still-closed external border. Europe was the pandemic’s epicentre when the Commission recommended banning all non-essential travel to and from third countries in March. Hence, the EU was as much shielding the rest of the world from itself as limiting the spread of infection from without. Now, according to the WHO, European infection rates are dropping whilst the global outlook is worsening. 7 June set a new daily record for the highest number of new cases since the crisis began. As of 15 June, there were 7.5 million cases and over 420,000 recorded deaths worldwide. And, as forecast at the beginning of the ICMPD series on COVID-19, the pandemic is now accelerating in the developing world, taking 98 days to reach 100,000 infections in Africa, but only 18 days more to reach 200,000. Similar patterns are emerging in South Asia and the Middle East.


Nevertheless, the Commission has signalled the ban on non-essential third country travel can be lifted after 1 July, albeit carefully. Last week, it set out basic criteria for resuming visa operations and also for determining which individual third countries are controlling the pandemic adequately enough to allow a resumption of travel to Europe. But whilst Schengen countries have a legally binding means to decide lifting visa restrictions for particular countries, no similar ‘white list’ system exists for designating third countries ‘safe’ during a pandemic. The Italian and Spanish prime ministers pointed this out to Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on 4 June, stating “COVID incidence thresholds in third countries, for instance, should be agreed among us, before regaining full mobility with them”.


Presently, the EU simply lacks the political bandwidth to negotiate changes to the Schengen acquis to take account of the current situation. Instead, countries will spend the summer improvising. How will the others respond if one Schengen member decides to re-open its borders with Russia, the world’s third worst affected country? How will the Schengen area formulate a common policy towards travel from the US – the current epicentre – or Latin America, where the crisis continues to worsen and has yet to peak? An uncoordinated re-opening of external borders goes against the very concept of a common travel area and would lead to the rapid re-introduction of border controls and travel restrictions internally. Most important, it would risk Europe’s precious achievement in getting the virus under control within three months without a vaccine.


Possible solutions


One option would be to extend the ban on non-essential travel to the EU to 31 August when coordination lessons could be drawn from the European tourist season, and when the changing direction of the pandemic will be clearer. (Seasonal workers, passengers in transit and asylum seekers are in any case already exempt under the Commission’s guidance.) Another would be an ad hoc coordination mechanism, developed in tandem with the European Centre for Disease Control and EASA. This would set epidemiological criteria for third countries, such as recorded COVID-19 fatalities and evolving infection rates per 100,000 of population. Those with clear upward trends over 14 days or more would face tougher controls. Others on a downward trend over one month would be subject to heightened vigilance but not special restrictions.


A temporary home for this system might be the Union’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) mechanism. Originally developed in case of a 9/11 like incident in Europe after 2001, the IPCR brings together the countries most affected by a particular crisis, along with the Commission and key operational actors, to determine crisis management priorities. The EU’s rotating presidency chairs the IPCR and tables its recommendations at meetings of national EU ambassadors, the Union’s most important decision-making body under the political level. First activated for the irregular arrivals crises of 2015-2016, the IPCR already began exchanging information on COVID-19 on 2 March.


A solution along these lines would only serve as a band aid. Once the crisis subsides, Schengen countries need to reflect in earnest on how to fill clear governance gaps in the acquis, in public health, but also areas like transport, security and crisis management. With the Commission shortly to publish proposals for a new grand bargain between EU countries on migration policy, this debate is coming.

Hugo Brady is Senior Strategic Advisor at ICMPD.

Find all articles on COVID19 & Migration here



Expert Voice Series Wed, 17 Jun 2020 15:03:48 +0200
ICMPD Around the Globe: ICMPD Director General moderates high-level virtual meeting https://www.icmpd.org//news-centre/news-detail/icmpd-around-the-globe-icmpd-director-general-moderates-high-level-virtual-meeting/ Co-organised by the Antalya Diplomacy Forum and ICMPD, hosted by the Turkish Ministry for Foreign...

The COVID-19 pandemic has the world facing one of the worst global health and economic crises in modern times. While even the most developed countries face tremendous challenges to cope with the disease the situation of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless persons deserves particular attention.

This event was organised to extend the dialogue among refugee hosting countries, the UN, the European Union and international organisations to analyse the effects of the pandemic on refugees and other displaced persons and to explore the potential areas of international cooperation needed to mitigate the impact on these populations.

The participant list included:

  • (H.E.) Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
  • (H.E.) Mr. Ayman Safadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 1
  • (H.E.) Mr. Fuad Hussein, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Repuplic of Iraq
  • (H.E)  Mr. Nassif Hitti, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanese Republic
  • (H.E.) Mr. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan
  • (H.E.) Ms. Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs
  • (H.E.) Mr. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • (H.E.) Ms. Karin Kneissl, Ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria
  • (H.E.) Ms. Zsuzsanna Jakab, Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organization

The moderators were: (H.E.) Michael Spindelegger, Director General, ICMPD and (H.E.) Murat Karagöz, Ambassador, Director General for Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Co-Coordinator of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

There is an urgent need to devise policies and practices to protect refugees and displaced persons from the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic and promote their resilience. Host countries need to implement efficient measures to prevent the spreading of the virus among these vulnerable groups.

As the impact of the pandemic goes beyond the boundaries of countries, extending the cooperation between countries to deliver comprehensive responses is key, as all participants have emphasised.

Watch the webinar here

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 16:39:15 +0200