International Dialogue on Migration 2021: Leveraging Migration for a Resilient and Sustainable Post-Pandemic Recovery

Related Sustainable Development Goals and Global Compact for Migration Objectives

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SDG 4: Quality Education
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SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
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SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
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SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
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SDG 13: Climate Action
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SDG 14: Life Below Water
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SDG 15: Life on Land
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SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
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IOM's International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) has held a pioneering role in bringing together all migration stakeholders, at a global level, for free and open discussions on the opportunities and challenges which migration presents. Each year, IDM hosts two seperate conferences on an essential migration-related topic.

This fall, the IDM conference focused on Leveraging Migration for a Resilient and Sustainable Post-Pandemic Recovery: Opportunities and Challenges. Stakeholders from UN partners, Civil Society Organizations, Member States, academia and more shared their perspectives, key new research and approaches and insights into how migration can support COVID-19 recovery and get us back on track to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Cécile Riallant, Head of the Migration and Sustainable Development Unit in IOM, spoke at the session on  Advancing Socio-economic Rights and Access to Services in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond. The pandemic has painted a stark and concerning picture where inequalities between migrants and the wider community have been further exacerbated and made much more evident. 

IMD Session on Advancing Socio-economic Rights and Access to Services in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

Migrants were both at the forefront of COVID-19 response as providers of services, acting as essential workers delivering healthcare, food and sanitation services, elderly care and more. Yet at the same time migrants were also faced with additional barriers to accessing these same services. COVID-19 has triggered incidents of discrimination, xenophobia and racism. Migrants are increasingly jobless, stranded, have reduced income, find themselves in situations of irregularity, are being forcibly returned, and are caught in vulnerable situations facing serious human rights violations.

The solution to this is clear: Equal access to services for all regardless of migratory status, gender, sexual orientation, age or any other factor. It is at the local level where inclusion and service provision takes place and it is also at the local level where a better understanding of the needs and opportunities surrounding migration lie, and so it is also at the local level where mayors, local authorities, municipal leaders, local governments, religious leaders, Civil Society Organizations and others are taking a pragmatic and innovative approach to providing those services and who have a vested interest in reaching all their residents, regardless of migration status.

But implementing this solution is complex. We have learned from and worked with many local and regional authorities and cities who are defying the odds within a global pandemic, economic challenges, limited competencies and limited resources on what is means to truly apply a people centred and inclusive approach to service provision and inclusion.

Some examples:

  • The Mayors Migration Council has documented how some cities like Beirut are trialling mobile COVID-19 testing centres to reach people, including migrants, in hard to reach parts of the city. Some cities have made sure that people looking for health information or children receiving online education can access these resources with expensive technologies and in their native languages. Some cities like Los Angeles provided direct cash assistance to all city residents in need during COVID-19, including undocumented immigrants.
  • Some countries like Portugal have extended temporary visas or regularization processes to ensure migrants are more able to access services without fear of barriers or discrimination.
  • IOM and UNDP are working within the UN Network for Migration and with Member States and their sub-national counterparts, city networks and other local and regional authorities to support. IOM and UNDP co-lead the UN Network’s CWG 2.2 on supporting governments and other stakeholders to implement the GCM. We are pleased to have ensure cities’ voices are heard through representation from UCLG, and cities are also able to access the funding mechanism, the Migration Multipartner Trust Fund. 
  • IOM and UNDP also implement joint programmes and look for synergies on the ground. e.g. In Nepal, we are supporting local authorities understand the needs and provide services to ensure sustainable reintegration of returning migrants due to COVID-19 for better access to decent work and livelihoods opportunities. 
  • IOM also supports the Mayors Mechanism alongside UCLG and MMC to raise the voices and expertise of mayors and LRAs in state-led and global discussions on migration. 

We have learned that it is our partnerships, with UNDP and local and national authorities, CSOs and more, that will make the difference. If local authorities and local actors are the implementers of national policies that don’t meet local needs, there is a clear need for a different conversation between different levels of government and other key actors like the communities and migrants themselves and the private sector, if we truly want to apply a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to migration governance that supports sustainable development outcomes for all, recovery from COVID-19 and accelerates the world towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. 

See the full agenda of the two-day conference, the keynote speakers and the essential topics discussed here.

Watch videos of all the events here.