Migrants in Croatia Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The Future of Migration Governance

We live in a hyper-connected world, where goods, capital, and people are more mobile than ever before. But, whereas countries have shown a willingness to cooperate on exchanging goods and capital, the international community has shown little appetite for improving how it governs human mobility – and the costs of inaction are mounting.

DHAKA – We live in a rapidly evolving, hyper-connected world, where goods, capital, and people are more mobile than ever before. But, whereas countries have shown a willingness to cooperate on exchanging goods and capital, the international community has shown little appetite for improving how it governs human mobility.

After the wide-scale persecution and displacement of people in World War II, world leaders took the bold step of crafting the 1951 Refugee Convention. In doing so, they relinquished a measure of national sovereignty – by accepting the principle of non-refoulement – in order to promote global solidarity toward refugees.

On the other hand, country leaders saw migration as something temporary that could be managed ad hoc, through unilateral or bilateral agreements primarily designed to fill specific labor-market needs in developed economies. In hindsight, it is now clear that this approach was inadequate for dealing with the upsurge in human mobility that came with global and regional economic integration.

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