E.g., 07/24/2014
E.g., 07/24/2014

The Governance of International Migration: Defining the Potential for Reform in the Next Decade

Reports
September 2011

The Governance of International Migration: Defining the Potential for Reform in the Next Decade

This Council Statement from the sixth plenary meeting of MPI's Transatlantic Council on Migration provides an overview of the Council’s discussions on how states can work together to move beyond the mantra of “global governance”—loosely defined as the creation of a more or less formal set of norms and rules to regulate the behavior of states with respect to the movement of people across borders—and begin taking concrete actions in pursuit of a shared agenda of safe, secure, legal, and orderly migration. It explores what specifically greater international cooperation should aim to accomplish; seeks to establish how states should act collectively to improve the governance of migration; and articulates the tools and principles that can foster cooperation.

The Council’s deliberations suggest that a practical, gradualist, and organic approach to multilayered collaboration will be crucial if initial conversations are to transcend the collective inertia of rising anti-immigrant sentiment and the complex and competing priorities of sending and receiving states. It identifies six areas in which states likely have the most to gain from greater bilateral or multilateral cooperation—thwarting “bad actors,” experimenting with small-scale agreements, filling protection gaps for vulnerable migrants, mitigating effects of climate change, and reducing costs for migrants—and recommends that states begin by fostering habits of working together through informal dialogue on these issues. Once habits of cooperation become ingrained, states can begin to introduce more formal mechanisms, engage new actors, and tackle more contentious and substantive migration issues.

Table of Contents 

I. Setting the Stage: Toward Greater Cooperation on International Migration

A. International Migration Front and Center

B. The Calculus for Receiving Societies

C. Sending Societies and their Concerns about the Status Quo

II. Broadening the Conversation on the Governance of Migration

III. Issue Areas Ready for Much Greater Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation

IV. The Building Blocks to Greater Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation on Migration

V. Putting Ideas and Talk into Play Effectively

VI. By Way of a Conclusion, Three Simple Ideas Worth Repeating