Blog Post

The Search for Long-Term Approaches to Migration Continues

June 29, 2017
2 min read
Photo credit: - War refugees camp at the Keleti Railway Station.

Some 85,000 migrants and asylum seekers have tried to reach Europe in the first half of 2017 according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and more than 2,100 have died trying. At the same time, of the 22 million refugees worldwide, 84 percent are hosted in the world’s developing regions with the top hosting countries being Turkey, Pakistan, and Uganda. As more people are on the move than ever before and inflows of refugees are stretching state capacities from Jordan to Uganda to European countries, it is apparent that policymakers need to take a deeper look. The interconnections between development and migration are a good place to start.

This week migration policymakers, practitioners, private sector representatives, and civil society actors will meet in Berlin for the Tenth Global Forum on Migration and Development Summit (GFMD). The Summit is a particularly important exchange platform this year as a Global Compact on Migration is set to be adopted by the community of states in 2018. Held under a German–Moroccan co-chairmanship with the German Foreign Office being the main coordinator on the German side, the GFMD seeks to address and balance the interests of migrants and their countries of origin, transit, and destination within the framework of safe, regular, and orderly migration. Many current policy approaches toward migration are far from being balanced, long term, and coherent. While policy coherence — a roundtable topic at the GFMD — is often called for in politics, it is rarely clear what coherent policy means in practice or what governance processes are needed to achieve it. This is true also for the host country of the GFMD, Germany.

In our current publication of the Migration Strategy Group on International Cooperation and Development (MSG) entitled “More Coherence! External Dimensions of a Comprehensive Migration and Refugee Policy — Insights from Germany,” we approach the topic of coherent migration and refugee policy with regard to three core foreign policy levels and fields of action for Germany: at the global level, in EU policy with regard to migration partnerships, and concerning border security and return policies. Policy coherence represents an ongoing process in which interests must be identified and goals and priorities formulated. The report makes recommendations for German policy action regarding institutional reforms and thematic focus areas. Appropriate institutional frameworks are key to coordinating policy coherence, both within governments and between governments. Germany has started to create such a framework between different departments but more work needs to be done. Preparations for this year’s GFMD in Berlin have raised awareness about the need for long-term policy approaches among the different departments in the lead-up to the conference. It will be important to see what lessons learned will remain.