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Migrants

Global migration and urban expansion: an interview with Ambassador William L. Swing

Kristyn Schrader-King's picture


Migration is one of the major defining factors of our time.

Today, one billion people – one out of seven people in the world – are migrants, including over 250 million people living outside their home country and an estimated 750 million domestic migrants.


According to a new World Bank report, “Moving for Prosperity: Global Migration and Labor Markets,” some of the biggest gains in global welfare and economic development come from the movement of people between countries.

However, migration is often an overlooked piece of the globalization mosaic. Rapid urbanization adds to the complex picture of migration – and poses a challenge to the host communities and migrants alike.

What can be done to improve governance of global migration and encourage actions on urban expansion?

As part of our Spring Meetings 2018 Interview Series, we spoke with Ambassador William L. Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Watch the interview to learn more.

Migration: The future depends on our actions today

Caglar Ozden's picture

Around 250 million migrants currently live outside their countries of birth, making up approximately 3.5 percent of the world population. Despite the widespread perception of a global migration crisis, this ratio has stayed remarkably stable since the end of the Second World War and lags well behind other major metrics of globalization – international trade, capital flows, tourism etc. A more remarkable statistic is that refugees, at around 15 million, account for 6 percent of the migrant population and only 0.2 percent of world population. In other words, we can fit all refugees in the world in a city with an area of 5000 square kilometers – roughly the size of metropolitan Istanbul or London or Paris – and still have some space left over.

What kind of evidence might persuade people to change their minds on refugees?

Duncan Green's picture

Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Ed Cairns reflects on using evidence to influence the treatment of refugees.

Who thinks that governments decide what to do on refugees after carefully considering the evidence? Not many, I suspect. So it was an interesting to be asked to talk about that at the  ‘Evidence for Influencing’conference Duncan wrote about last week.

When I think what influences refugee policy, I’m reminded of a meeting I had in Whitehall on Friday 4 September, two days after the three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, had drowned.  Oxfam and other NGOs had been invited in to talk about refugees. The UK officials found out what their policy was by watching Prime Minister David Cameron on their phones, as he overturned the UK’s refusal to resettle thousands of Syrians in a press conference in Lisbon.  Even then, he and his officials refused to promise how many Syrians would be allowed. By Monday, that line had crumbled as well, and a promise of 20,000 by 2020 was announced.

The evidence of course had shown that children and other refugees had been tragically drowning in the Mediterranean for months. But it was the sheer human emotion, the public interest, and no doubt Cameron’s own compassion that made the change. Evidence and the evidence-informed discussion between officials and NGOs had nothing to do with it. More important was that a single image of a drowned boy spread to 20 million screens within 12 hours as #refugeeswelcome began trending worldwide. As research by the Visual Social Media Lab at the University of Sheffield set out, “a single image transformed the debate”.

Cairns 2


Two years later, a new Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration has just been launched by the Florence-based Migration Policy Centreand its partners, including IPSOS Mori in the UK.  It aims to be the ‘go-to centre for researchers and practitioners’, and has sobering news for anyone who thinks that evidence has a huge influence on this issue.  Anti-migrant views, it shows, are far more driven by the values of tradition, conformity and security, and within the UK in particular, according to an IPSOS Mori study, by a distrust of experts, alongside suspicion of diversity, human rights and “political correctness”.

Secondary towns for migration and jobs: Creating the action space

Luc Christiaensen's picture
These are some of the insights emerging from the in-depth conversations with 75 migrants from rural Kagera, Tanzania which are recounted here in a 3-blog series. This first blog focuses on the importance of “Making action space”. (Photo: Hendri Lombard / World Bank)


Raymond is a young boy living in rural Kagera, Tanzania. He has always dreamed of moving to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s prime city, 1,650 km away and currently with a population of 4.5 million. Getting there, for someone with his background and skills, was next to impossible. But, having familiarized himself with the wheeling and dealing of urban life through his moves through several secondary towns in Tanzania, he is getting closer. Over the past few years, he moved 8 times, expanding and contracting his action space with each move.

The story of Raymond challenges the traditional vision of rural to urban migration as a one-step process. It further draws attention to the opportunity that secondary towns can add for improving people’s welfare through migration. These are some of the insights emerging from the in-depth conversations with 75 migrants from rural Kagera, Tanzania which are recounted here in a 3-blog series. This first blog focuses on the importance of “Making action space”.

A perspective on jobs from the G20

Luc Christiaensen's picture
Factory workers in Ghana
When talking about the Future of Work, it is important to go beyond discussing robots and changes in employer-worker relationships; these might not be the primary labor market problem that low-income countries face. (Photo: Dominic Chavez/World Bank)

On May 18-19, the G20 Ministers of Labor met in Bad Neuenahr, Germany to discuss and adopt their annual Labor and Employment Ministerial Meeting (LEMM) Declaration advocating for "an integrated set of policies that places people and jobs at center stage." In this, the meeting did not shy away from some of the more thorny issues to reach the overarching goal of fostering "inclusive growth and a global economy that works for everyone." It focused on the much-feared future-of-work, the longstanding challenge of more and better employment for women, better integration of recognized migrants and refugees in domestic labor markets, and ensuring decent work in the international supply chains.  

International Migrants’ Savings and Incomes

Dilip Ratha's picture

The potential for mobilizing diaspora savings for financing education, healthcare and infrastructure in countries of origin is massive. Some 170 million international migrants from developing countries send over $400 billion in remittances to their countries of origin. At the same time, migrants also save a part of their incomes in the country of origin, mostly as bank deposits. Migrant savings can be mobilized, through diaspora bonds or non-resident deposits, for financing development efforts in countries of origin.
 
We make some back-of-the-envelope calculations of diaspora savings using data on migrant stocks, skill composition, and assumptions about migrant earnings. We assume that the high-skilled migrants earn the same as the native workers in destination countries, but that the low-skilled migrants earn less – one-third in the OECD countries, one-fifth in the GCC countries, and one-half in other destination countries.

And The Top Goal Scorers of the 2014 World Cup Are…Migrants!

Christian Eigen-Zucchi's picture
The 2014 World Cup is shaping up to be a goal fest, with an average of 3 goals per game so far (20 out of 64 matches played).  You would have to go back to 1958 to find an average of 3 goals or more per game.  Who are the players scoring all of these dazzling goals?  Most are migrants.  A goal scorer is deemed to be a migrant if he is thought to be living in a country outside his country of birth, as indicated by playing for a club outside his country of birth.  This is regardless of whether the national team being represented is the same as the country of birth.

In order to highlight the contributions of migrants, we will keep a running tally of goals scored by migrants and non-migrants in the chart below.  The more detailed file is available here.  Check back and see how they are doing as this exciting World Cup reaches its climax!
 
Top Goal Scorers of the 2014 World Cup

In 2014, the World Cup Will Be Won By…Migrants!

Christian Eigen-Zucchi's picture

The World Cup Football finals get underway in Brazil today – the long wait is over!  They mean many different things to the billions around the world who will come together to watch, evoking intense emotions of national pride and glory, or humiliation and outrage.  Goals and calls by referees are recalled decades later, hotly debated in a passion for the ‘beautiful game.’  One key aspect of this ultimate expression of globalization is that most of the players are migrants, either playing for their national teams while currently residing in another country (such as Lionel Messi, born in Argentina, living in Spain, and playing for Argentina), or playing for a national team different from their country of birth (such as Diego Costa, born in Brazil, living in Spain, and playing for Spain), or both (such as Miroslav Klose, born in Poland, living in Italy, and playing for Germany).

China’s urbanization lessons can benefit the global community

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture

(Infographic) China: Better Urbanization Leads to Higher-Quality Growth for All People

We all know urbanization is important: Nearly 80% of gross domestic product is generated in cities around the world. Countries must get urbanization right if they want to reach middle- or high-income status.

But urbanization is challenging, especially because badly planned cities can hamper economic transformation and cities can become breeding grounds for poverty, slums and squalor and drivers of pollution, environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s why it’s important for us to build cities that are livable, with people-centered approaches to urbanization and development. That will allow innovation and new ideas to emerge and enable economic growth, job creation and higher productivity, while also saving energy and managing natural resources, emissions and disaster risks. When the process is driven by people, it can lead to important results, the same way London and Los Angeles addressed their air pollution problems.

Bold Steps for China’s Cities

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
Also available in: العربية  Español


Photo courtesy of Li Wenyong

 

In 2030, more than 300 million Chinese are expected to have moved into cities. By then, 70 percent will live in urban settings. Given China’s size, it will mean that one in six urban dwellers worldwide will be Chinese. The challenges coming with that demographic shift are already visible and well known, in China and beyond.

Urbanization is a global trend. So when we think about new approaches to urbanization here in China, we believe that they are of value for other countries facing similar issues. In other words, China’s success in urbanization could pave the way for global rethinking on how cities can be built to be healthy, efficient, and successful.


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