Fragility and conflicts, unemployment and exclusion, vulnerability to climate change, and even increased violent extremism in some enclaves, contribute to forced displacements and instability. This turmoil in the Middle East and Africa regions does not just affect them. The whole world is affected by its spillovers.
Numbers peaked in 2015, when more than one million people, mainly from the Middle East and Africa arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean, a large proportion of them having travelled along the eastern route through Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans.
While migration is a global phenomenon, its effects are felt most profoundly on the city level, turning cities and local governments into key stakeholders on the international scene. This is particularly true for Mediterranean cities, where both host communities and local governments are facing additional challenges due to the influx of refugees and migrants: housing, social welfare, education, labor market, etc.
Yet, there are promising developments at both the global and subnational levels – and cities are taking on an active role in migration policy discussions. At the global level, UN member states recently adopted two international agreements – the Global Compact on Refugees, and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. While the Compact on Refugees relies heavily on existing treaty commitments, the Migration Compact sets forth new forms of international cooperation on migration, an issue area that has traditionally been the sole right of national governments.
The 3-day event brings together local, national, and international policy makers and experts to discuss how Mediterranean cities, north and south, are affected by mixed migration flows – and how to respond.
The central challenge it aims to address is the need for a meaningful dialogue between local and national authorities. While migration policy remains a prerogative of national governments, the effects are felt locally. Only through multi-level dialogue can effective migration governance take shape.
This expert meeting also aims to:
The Mediterranean Strategy Group 19th meeting will result in a report that offers policy recommendations to local, national and international policy makers on how to improve migration governance based on the discussions at the Mediterranean Strategy Group.