Governance and Public Policy

The 21st century has seen international migration become one of the most salient issues on public policy and global governance agendas. Most recent estimates suggest there are more than 244 million international migrants (UNFPA 2015). Unlike the movement of capital, goods, and services, international migration is not governed by a single agency within the international system that oversees and addresses all forms of international migration. Rather, there is a complex network of intergovernmental organizations within and outside of the UN that focus on specific aspects of migration. Most countries play a role in international migration and act either as source, transit, or destination countries. The ways governments respond can have consequences for these countries and for migrants crossing borders. Migrants relocate for education, work, family, safety, and to learn about new cultures and societies. Many migrants support their families and communities through remittances and contribute to the development of both source and destination countries.  Migration and movements take place through regular and irregular channels, such as smuggling or trafficking of persons. Different approaches to governance, varying from UN systems, to regional frameworks and bilateral agreements, extend across internal and external borders.  As migration trends continue to change there is an increased need for international cooperation, policies and governance mechanisms to manage the movement of people, ensuring human rights are respected and contributions and impacts are recognized and considered.