Date of Meeting: 19 April 2017

Meeting Organizer: International Organization for Migration 

ISJC Staff Present: Joseph Halliday

Reporter: Joseph Halliday

Which SDG does this topic cover? 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17

Type of meeting: Panel discussion

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Panel discussion on theme: ‘Building from the ground up: promoting a whole-of-society approach to good migration governance’

Ashley William Gois, Regional Co-ordinator, Migration Forum in Asia

Speaker welcomed panel and audience to day two of the International Dialogue on Migration, and specifically to panel discussion 4 for which he acted as moderator. He introduced theme and gave floor to each speaker in turn.

Carmen Muñoz Quesada, Vice Minister of Government and Police, Costa Rica

  • Migration is a crucial issue – an international agreement must be found soon because of the risk of further loss of life (through trafficking and difficult global situations).
  • Better governance is required because there are many stakeholders.
  • A gap exists between rhetoric and action.
  • In Costa Rica:
    • 1995 forum on migration concludes with a recognition for the need for regular meetings to discuss the human rights of migrants;
    • National Council on Migration provides advice to the executive on migration on which policies to follow, and features representatives from across society including public and private spheres and civil society;
    • There is a national effort to stop human trafficking (prosecution of traffickers, support of survivors and training for those who undertake this work).
  • Costa Rica is a destination country for migrants – for work, asylum seekers, refugees etc. Private employers therefore have a responsibility. Public campaigns are needed. Labour rights for those here temporarily. Academics, government, civil society all have to take responsibility to tackle intolerance and improve integration.

Firudin Nabiyev, Chief, State Migration Service, Republic of Azerbaijan

  • Regulation of migration is of the upmost importance at current time. Conflict and natural disaster have seen increased activity. Concerns over Islamophobia and general intolerance.
  • There has been an influx of foreigners to Azerbaijan – it has shifted from a country of migration origin to one of transit and destination. Country of tolerance. Sports events and other international events have brought it much prestige. It has seen a growth in tourism and improvements in the visa application process (e.g. technology) have brought it much prestige.
  • In 2013 Azerbaijan introduced a new migration code. This unified system records foreigners entering (such as dates of arrival/exit).
  • The country has seen the sustainable development of the migration process. It co-operates with the International Organization for Migration  and other organisations and has improved legislation.
  • Azerbaijan sees a whole-society approach as being important to ensuring good migration practices.

Hisham Badr, Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs and International Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt

  • International Organization for Migration plays a central role in good migration, but there is limited international discussion on the subject.
  • Africa has a lot to contribute on the issue.
  • A legal vacuum exists, especially on rights. Migration is a contentious issue, being manipulated for political gain at the expense of its positive effects.
  • Migration must be handled holistically – it is a multi-faceted issue.
    • Legal pathways should be opened for migration.
    • Better quality of life and conditions should be sought at countries of origins.
    • Migration is a process not a problem. Countries and organisations should promote a whole-of-society approach. Information is key – data is crucial to understanding the best approach and practice between actors and organisations.
  • In Egypt, three initiatives are particularly notable:
    • ‘Buy-Egyptian-product’ initiative, which sees people encouraged to buy Egyptian handicrafts etc. made by the disadvantaged to support real and sustainable livelihoods.
    • ‘Your project’ – a board of trustees from across society encourages young people to initiate their own projects (e.g. business and job opportunities).
    • 350,000 enterprises have been funded over three year by the Central Bank of Egypt (stimulating exports, supporting jobs etc.).
  • Egypt has encouraged a move towards better data and information sharing, and the sharing of experiences of the Egyptian community abroad.

Gordon Kihalangwa, Maj. Gen. (Rtd.), Director, Department of Immigration Services, Minitry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, Kenya

  • The US in particular speaks a lot about ‘strong borders’ – we are seeing increased migration, however. Migration happens for many reasons.
  • Fears exist over limited social amenities, a lack of traceability once a visa has been granted and other such things.
  • A holistic approach is required. How can we (citizens) accommodate each other?
  • Much is being done in Africa, despite limitations of poverty and infrastructure:
    • Departments of Kenyan government come together to co-operate, civil society here plays an important role.
    • Johannesburg is seen as a very welcoming place.
  • Better migration management requires collaboration, legislation and policy.
  • Civil society ‘has not yet really understood its role’ – its ideals, grassroots, attitudes and watchdogs of the application of the law need improvement.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • An emphasis on a whole-of-society approach is important. The Salvation Army, as an international organisation that works in many areas and levels of the community must be mindful of the role it can play in ensuring good migration, and not simply leave it to governments and individuals.
  • The danger of allowing migration being allowed to be used ‘for political gain’ (see Hisham Badr above). We must be wary of forgetting the real lives involved.

Web links for more information

Tags: United Nations, SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals