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International Organization for Migration (IOM) as the EMN coordinator for Slovakia organised the 6th EMN Educational Seminar on Migration entitled “Causes and Consequences of Forced migration” which was held in Bratislava, Slovakia on 22 - 24 August 2018.

 The seminar welcomed 16 experts from for international organisations, non-governmental sector, research institutions and academia from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Kenya, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, United States and United Kingdom. Lecturers discussed migration myths and data based migration policy-making, migration governance and future scenarios of international migration, current migration development from the countries of origin perspective, vulnerabilities and human rights of migrants, environmentally induced migration as well as labour migration and the risks of modern slavery.

Among more than 70 participants were representatives of state and public administration, state implementing authorities, intergovernmental organisations, non-profit sector, think tanks and independent experts, academia, Slovak municipalities, self-governing regions and associations. Besides that foreign participants from Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Sweden and the USA attended the seminar, majority of them were representaives of the EMN National Contact Points.

Participants had a chance to explore impact of current actions for the future migration policy-making through interactive role-play board game developed by the EU Policy Lab of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.

Apart from the day sessions, the programme included also a public event – discussion evening entitled „Migration Caused by Climate Change“ with screening of the new documentary film Anote's Ark. Discutants were experts from Kenya, USA and Czech Republic.

Summary of the presentations

1st day of the seminar - migration myths nad data, vulerabilities of migrants, corruption and its relation to international migration

The seminar was officially opened by Zuzana Vatráľová, Head of the IOM Office in Slovakia, who introduced EMN and its activities also through a video covering its 10-year existence. Furthermore, she used a myth-busting facts to counter typical stereotypes about international migration and integration as well as stressed the importance of using correct migration terminology and data for policymakers.

Subsequently, Jasper Dag Tjaden, Data and Survey Officer from IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Germany, briefly sketched what kind of migration data is available at the international level and draw attention of data users including policymakers to various limitations of using these data. Thus he summarized existing data sources and data gaps especially with regard to flows, irregular migration, emigration and return. He also introduced Global Migration Indicators and Global Migration Data Portal and talked about other positive developments in collecting migration data.

In her audio presentation, Nassim Majidi who is a Co-founder and Director of Samuel Hall, Kenya & Research Associate of Wits University, focused on decision making of young Somalis, Afghans and Syrians to migrate in relation to theirvarious profiles and aspirations. She explained the migration threshold approach as a useful tool to understand how people make decisions about migration. She also pointed out on roles of the smugglers in their stories. She discussed difference between migrants who make arrangements with smugglers in their countries of origin as opposed to those that find smugglers ad hoc or out of desperation, and often in transit settings. She described situations when smuggling turns into trafficking,summarized exploitative practices which smuggled persons face and ways to protect smuggled persons.

Kilian Kleinschmidt, Founder and Chairman of Innovation and Planning Agency (IPA) and former director of the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, explored new ways of thinking about migration, refugees and protection instead of sticking to traditional assumptions and fixed narrative of closing the borders and categorization of migrants. He provided overview of major developments and events affecting forced migration which have occurred since 2017. He talked about the crucial role of municipalities in searching solutions for people on the move, about urban planning in this regard as well as about sustainable development zones.

Next speaker was Amr Taha, Senior Regional Liaison and Policy Officer from the IOM Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia based in Austria. After stressing the importance of international migration, he explained how the two UN Global Compacts (UN Global Compact on Refugees and UN Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration) focus on the needs of migrants especially in vulnerable situations. He described specific provisions in both documents which are related to migrant vulnerabilities, as well as some of the commitments to address those vulnerabilities often in the context of mixed movements.

The role of corruption as a push factor for migration explained Arjen Leerkes, Professor of Migration, Securitization and Social Cohesion at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and Associate Professor of Sociology at University in Rotterdam. He analysed why and how corruption in countries of origin can influence international migration as well as other under-researched aspects of migration and vulnerability in relation to immigration, detention and deportation. He listed the types of corruption and its relation to human security, emigration, voluntary returns as well as environmental security.

First seminar day closed Liza Schuster, a sociologist at City University of London who has been conducting research in the field of forced migration for more than 20 years. She addressed the consequences for people returned from the EU or elsewhere to Afghanistan based on her fieldwork in this country in years 2012 – 2015. Apart from post-deportation vulnerabilities she described in detail also how the return of an individual looks like immediately after landing at the Kabul airport as well as current security and economic situation in Afghanistan. Furthermore, she gave insights into the Afghan network-driven society and its norms which can have detrimental impact on re-integration, security and re-migration of Afghan returnees.

2nd day of the seminar – climate change and migration, modern slavery

Second seminar day opened François Gemenne, a specialist of environmental geopolitics and migration dynamics and Senior Research Associate at Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) at the University of Liège in Belgium where he is the Director of the Hugo Observatory. His lecture focused on movement of people induced by the environmental degradation, climate migration being part of it. He highlighted some of the key aspects of environmental migration and contrasted them with the way this type of migration is still being widely perceived by the media, public and some policy-makers. He discussed manifold impacts of climate change (mainly sea-level rise, land degradation, natural disasters) inducing different kinds of migration which do not necessarily require the same policy responses and in some cases reveal gaps in international law. He stressed that the developing countries will be the most affected by the climate change although they bear the least responsibility for them.

David Brown, a researcher on the Antislavery Ecosystem project at the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, looked at modern slavery and current climate change both emerged as concurrent and interconnected crises in contemporary world.
It is a two way relationship where on one hand modern slavery activities such as debt bonded labour or forced labour practices may exacerbate and increase the risks of climate change and local environmental pollution. On the other hand, impacts of environmental destruction and climate change are projected to exacerbate current vulnerabilities of marginalised groups mainly in the Global South and push them into the vulnerable situations which may ultimately lead them into exploitation and modern slavery. Subsequently, he pointed out statistical correlations between slavery and environmental data and described their ‘Slavery from Space’ project which uses freely available and accessible remotely sensed data (i.e. commercial satellite imagery) to map sites of slavery and build up source of evidence for further actions.

Kanta Kumari Rigaud, a Lead Environmental Specialist at the World Bank.
She shared results and recommendations of the recent World Bank’s report “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration” which looks at the scale, the magnitude and the trajectory of climate-induced migration through a robust analytical and evidence-based approach. The report focuses on three regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America and under various scenarios projects how many people in these regions could be forced to move within their own countries by 2050 to escape the slow-onset impacts of climate change (i.e. water stress, crop failure, sea level rise). The report aims to help policymakers and countries better plan and prepare for the likely movement of people within countries as a consequence of climate change.

A new feature of this year seminar was the Scenario Exploration System board game. Participants could found themselves in the role of policy makers, the public, business, and the non-profit sector, and had a chance to influence and create possible scenarios of future labor migration developments according to the country needs. The game was introduced by Alice Szczepanikova, a Policy Analyst in the EU Policy Lab of the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre. The JRC’s board game “Scenario Exploration System” is freely available to all Members States and other stakeholders dealing with migration.

 

3rd day of the seminar vulnerabilities and exploitation of migrants, needs and governance of labour migration, good practices and lessons learnt in governance of labour migration

The third day of the seminar was opened by Jeffrey Labovitz who is the Regional Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa in Kena.., He explained various vulnerabilities of migrants resulting from the lack of information and legal pathways. He demonstrated the need of labour migration and its consequences on the North Carolina’s tobacco industry which is crucial to the state economy. He pointed out that despite the system prefers native manual farm laborers , native workers do not take farm jobs no matter how bad the economy becomes. He then focused on the East and Horn of Africa’s migration situation, trends, drivers, decision-making and routes including the one from Yemen and to Libya.

 

Lara White, a Senior Specialist for Labour Mobility and Human Developement at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok highlighted the factors which can make migrant workers more vulnerable (irregular migration, migration governance gaps, enforcement challenges across jurisdictions and regions, gender dimension to vulnerability, and barriers to grievance mechanisms and remedy) and explained vulnerabilities specific for each phase of labour migration process. She summarized good practices stemming from bilateral agreements, regional consultative processes and private sector engagement. She described the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a social compliance scheme that is designed to promote ethical international labour recruitment.

Argentina Szabados a Regional Director in the IOM Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia based in Vienna identified new labour migration trends and drivers of migration in the Central and Eastern Europe and analysed risks and opportunities associated with these trends. She pointed out ageing population and declining labour supply which make Poland, the Baltic states, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania all increasingly opening up to increase either temporary or permanent migration to meet labour market needs. Risks can be seen in exploitation/coercion of foreign workers in the recruitment process or employment, labour market or social integration. She also discussed ways to address related challenges for destination countries as well as for countries of origin through their mutual collaboration, involvement of private sector, access to transparent and timely information, promoting immigration and working with local governments.

The seminar was closed by the audio presentation of Penelope Kyritsis, who is a Education and Outreach Coordinator for Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network. She focused on labour exploitation including forced labour as a stable and predictable feature of many global supply chains in which multi-national corporations play a key role. She discussed the downward pressure on labour, its reorganization as a result of globalization as well as political economy of forced labour. Subsequently, she presented the outcomes of “Global Business of Forced Labour” study examining the business models of forced labour within global supply chains, focusing on case studies of tea and cocoa. After identifying problems with corporate social responsibility programs and multi-stakeholder initiatives, she highlighted importance of legally binding worker-driven social responsibility (WSR) activities like the Fair Food ProgrammeAccord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh or Milk with Dignity Program.

Presentations, podcasts (audio) and other materials can be downloaded HERE