Recent years have seen the topic of migration rise to the top of political agendas in many parts of the Global North, propelled by images of overcrowded boats on the Mediterranean and migrant caravans in Central America. In recent weeks tragic events have been unfolding a stone’s throw from the Netherlands, in the English Channel, and on the borders of Belarus.
For better or worse, policymakers at different levels of governance have responded to these events. Migration was a central feature of the campaign that ultimately saw the United Kingdom leave the European Union (EU) on the 1 January 2021. Just over a year ago, on 23 September 2020, the EU proposed a new Pact on Migration and Asylum to rebuild ‘trust between Member States and confidence in the capacity of the European Union to manage migration’, among various other goals.
At the global level, the landmark signing of two non-binding global compacts at the UN General Assembly in 2018, one on safe, orderly and regular migration, and the other on refugees, illustrates the culmination of a century of efforts to develop a normative and institutional framework to govern migration (albeit a non-legally binding one). This, however, represents just one part of the story of migration governance.
On the occasion of International Migrants Day 2021, UNU-MERIT researcher Elaine Lebon-McGregor joined forces with the Dutch Association for the United Nations (NVVN) to guest edit a special dossier that focuses on an important question: ‘Can we govern migration better?’
The resulting 10 articles, contributed by a range of academics and practitioners, including PhD fellow Lalaine Siruno, and two Master’s alumni from UNU-MERIT, Elinor Karl (2020/21) and Magda Ulceluse (2011/12), examine different perspectives and offer a glimpse into the complex reality of migration governance.
We join the call of NVVN to read, research and discuss how we can better govern migration on this International Migrants Day. Read the full dossier here.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.