Refugees agenda at G20 Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A G20 Refugee Agenda

The scale of the world's forced migration crisis has revealed troubling structural flaws in the very organizations tasked with addressing it. Weak mandates, insufficient funding, and failed governance systems have hurt the ability of intergovernmental agencies to act with authority in the name of the most vulnerable.

DHAKA – Every day, an average of some 34,000 people are forced to flee natural or man-made disasters. In the last six months alone, more than 2,000 lives have been lost in the Mediterranean; over the last weekend in June, 12,600 migrants arrived in Italy by sea. Financial and political pressures are overwhelming the countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe that are on the receiving end of this human wave. Unfortunately, in many cases, help is not on the way.

The scale of forced migration today has revealed troubling flaws in the organizations intended to serve as the last line of defense. Weak mandates, insufficient funding, disorganized structures, and the absence of a global governance system have weakened intergovernmental agencies’ ability to act with authority in the name of the most vulnerable.

As I argue in Germany this week, G20 leaders meeting in Hamburg on July 7-8 have an opportunity to reshape the migration governance system with proactive protection policies that would enhance people’s trust in international leadership. Although past summits have produced little more than talking points, the prospect for action is better this time, given that the talks will be held in Europe, where the impact of the migration crisis has been deeply felt.