Watch the webcast of the conference: morning session and afternoon session.
The first High-Level Parliamentary Conference on Policy Coherence for Development and Migration, organised jointly by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was a success. Almost 300 participants from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific region stressed that the financial and economic crisis reinforces the urgent need for comprehensive migration policies with a global approach.
There was concurrence that well-managed labour migration can be advantageous for destination countries and can also bring significant benefits to origin countries thus contributing to poverty reduction. Participants called upon governments to develop coherent migration policies that take into account the development needs of both origin and receiving countries.
This inclusive dialogue aimed to help strengthen the voice of parliamentarians in the topical issue of migration and policy coherence for development (PCD). Organising the event within the EU-ACP meetings ensured contribution by the origin countries. Mobilising a broad range of parliamentarians in support of coherent policies for development is vital on an issue that ultimately depends on political will. The role and responsibility of parliamentarians to seek synergies between migration and development policies and their ability to influence governments to “speak with one voice” gained general support.
Many key issues were debated, including: brain drain and brain waste; circular migration versus permanent migration; illegal migration; the negative impact of falling remittances; the role of diasporas; the situation of female migrants; the integration of migrants into society; the prevention of xenophobia; and the role of media and public officials. It was noted that migration is not only about border security or labour market policies, but also about taking into account the needs of people in countries of origin and finding “win-win” solutions. The private sector called for better migration management at the global level and flexible labour markets that respond to the realities of the global economy, and reminded participants about the “new global generation of young workers”.
The risk that developing countries will end up as the worst-hit victims of the current crisis was echoed by many. The impact of the crisis in developing countries will also affect economic recovery in the OECD area and advances in reducing poverty may unravel. Donors were urged to meet their aid commitments. Migration policies are certainly part of the solution, but many other externals and internal policies are needed for sustainable development. Neglecting the development dimension was seen as short-sighted and could over time undermine the pursuit of other objectives, such as long-term security or environmental goals.