On 23 September 2020 the team of the new, research project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) “Contested Mobility” organised an online workshop on the theme of migration policy in the Global South.
The first two panels dealt with the background and design of migration policies in Malaysia, Ethiopia, and Uganda, as well as the interaction between migration policy and the global megatrends of urbanization, climate change, and state fragility. Among other things the discussions dealt with the challenges of translating international migration policy processes to the national level. For example, the local integration of refugees called for by the Global Pact on Refugees often becomes a complicated political negotiation between international organizations, national governments of the main receiving countries and a wide variety of domestic actors, which complicates substantial formal integration of refugees. With regard to the interaction with global megatrends, there was agreement that greater exchange between the various political „communities“ would be beneficial in terms of sustainable and coherent migration policies.
In the third panel, the team of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) presented an analytical framework that will be used to guide the next two years of research on migration policy in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Colombia, Malaysia, and Senegal.
A public online discussion on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international migration policy served as the closing session of the workshop. Representatives from BMZ, the University of Ghana, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) discussed the socio-economic effects of the pandemic on different categories of migrants, and on political processes. The crisis has had the effect of a magnifying glass, increasing the size and scope of vulnerabilities and structural problems (for example failing social security systems and safety nets). Another topic of discussion was the devastating economic impact of the collapse of migrants‘ remittances to their home countries. The speakers agreed that multilateral and regional solutions in the origin and destination regions of migrants are necessary to cushion this global crisis. In addition, the concerns and needs of host communities must be taken seriously in order to prevent possible xenophobic tendencies, and to enable sustainable integration of refugees.