Managing migration: why leadership matters

Local women hired to prepare meals to migrants at IOM Transit Center in Agadez, Niger. (Credit: IOM/Amanda Nero)

Louise Arbour, United Nations Special Representative for International Migration, calls on governments negotiating the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to seize the opportunity for collaboration, whilst demonstrating strong political leadership in explaining the benefits of migration to their people.

“Bureaucrats can make the rational arguments. Demagogues can make the publicly appealing ones. Only great political leaders can make both.”

Last December, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, writing in Politico, made the courageous, yet obvious and much- needed observation that “It’s time to face the truth. We cannot and never will be able to stop migration”.

Simply put, the only option – not only for Europe but for the whole world – is for countries to develop a range of policies that maximize the benefits of migration and minimize, if not eliminate, its challenges. Easier said than done.

Aside from the humanitarian, moral and indeed legal imperative to address the plight of refugees, international migration more broadly can be made to produce optimum results for all concerned – the country of origin, the country of destination, the migrants themselves, the people they leave behind, the communities in which they settle. To do so, it must be responsive, in part, to the international supply and demand for labour at all skill levels, reflecting both economic needs and demographic realities. READ MORE