Global level

Most countries are not willing to abandon part of their sovereignty and risk losing control over who crosses their borders. For this reason the creation of a World Migration Organisation (WMO) is unlikely. As seen above, a combination of local, regional and bilateral co-operation can mitigate the lack of global coordination. But certain elements of migration are better served at the global level and thus need to be handled as such.

One example is environmental change, which contributes to increasing both internal and international migration (see Chapter 1), and raises the importance of managing strategies of adaptation in the most affected countries. The issue of rising seawater for island states provides a good example of what a possible co-ordination failure on migration could lead to. The absence of an appropriate international response may make a large number of people stateless with no legal resource for entry elsewhere. In the absence of legal opportunities to emigrate, many of them are likely to turn into irregular migrants. Identifying patterns of migration and recognition of appropriate admission policies at the global level is thus crucial (Martin, 2010).

Expanding policies to include environmental refugees is also necessary (Myers, 2002). Some countries have enacted policies for environmental migrants, such as the US temporary protected status (TPS) programme. However the TPS is restricted to people already in the United States at the time of the natural disaster. It also only applies to situations that are temporary in nature. The TPS has therefore limited utility in addressing environmental migrants. In this respect, Sweden is one of the few countries including environmental migrants within its asylum system.

Humanitarian crises, forcing people out of their country, are another example where a global governance framework is necessary. The 2011 famine in Somalia, for instance, has led thousands of refugees to flee into Kenya, settling in camps, such as Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world (see Chapter 1). OECD countries should be able quickly to intervene, through increased logistical and financial aid, to help receiving countries face such crises.

Finally, several countries, such as Mexico, Morocco and Turkey, have become the focal point for thousands of transit migrants trying to reach richer and more stable economies (see Chapter 3). Because this situation is an indirect consequence of restrictive migration policies in richer countries, these should also share the burden of responsibility. One option is to provide assistance to transit countries not only to control migration, as is currently the case,4 but also to help protect the basic rights of stranded and vulnerable migrants.

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