These weeks in September, as every year, world leaders gather at the United Nations Headquarters for the UN General Assembly.
During the same period, two years ago, the General Assembly for the first time called a high level summit, responding to the large and at times chaotic movement of refugees and migrants, in particular to Europe, throughout 2015 and 2016.
The summit aimed at ‘bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach’. They signed up to the New York Declaration, which marked the start of a 2-year process during which two Global Compacts were developed and negotiated: one for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and one on Refugees.
In a remarkable achievement, two years later world leaders managed to agree on two Global Compacts, which will be formally adopted later in 2018. The Global Compact for Migration is a positive document, is the result of a constructive atmosphere during the consultations and negotiations, and has the potential, if fully implemented, to significantly contribute to an improvement of global migration governance.
However, while this process was unfolding and even though arrivals in Europe decreased, a sense of crisis remained. As many have argued, no longer a crisis of numbers, but a political crisis, in how to deal with and respond to mixed migration. In fact, to a large extent, the often highly emotional, politicised and polarised debate on migration is today focused on mixed migration.
Even though mixed migration only constitutes a relatively small part of global human mobility, it is a highly visibly phenomenon, much more visible and vivid, paradoxically, than the millions of people migrating through regular means. It is this aspect of migration, with refugees and migrants travelling along similar routes, often irregularly and assisted by migrant smugglers, that has been, and still is, causing a lot of political noise. It is mixed migration that shapes the perception of migration as being out of control and not properly managed by governments, fuelling the often very emotional political and public debate.
The Mixed Migration Centre has released a short movie, highlighting some of the events unfolding over the past two years and raising some of the difficult questions and challenges that come with the phenomenon of mixed migration.
Watch the movie here.
As expressed in the movie, there are no easy answers to many of these questions and challenges and that’s why it is today all the more important to offer a platform for different voices in the migration debate to be heard, and to allow space for new thinking. To provide neutral and evidence-based analysis, to help move the heated debate from emotionality to rationality.
In November this year, the Mixed Migration Centre will release its first annual and global report on mixed migration, the Mixed Migration Review (MMR). In addition to a global overview of key mixed migration and policy trends and developments, the report includes a series of essays dealing with some of the more difficult contemporary issues: the question of idealism versus realism in dealing with mixed migration? Whether, and why, migration is regarded as the unfinished business of capitalism? Whether smugglers can be seen as demons or angels and what makes their business so lucrative and robust? Who joins mixed migration flows and what drives them?
To offer a platform for debate and different voices, the report also includes a series of interviews with migration experts, policy makers and academics.
When it comes to mixed migration the big question remains: how will we all respond? Offering responses raises many difficult questions, for politicians, policies makers and societies at large. The Mixed Migration Centre aims to contribute to the debate and improved policies and responses by providing solid data, in-depth research, evidence-based analysis and stimulate forward thinking. This movie and the upcoming Mixed Migration Review are important steps in our effort to do so.