GENEVA (ILO News) – The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Labour Office (ILO) have launched a new study on “Strengthening Migration Governance” for International Migrants Day on 18 December.
Based on the stated commitments of the 56 participating OSCE countries, the report examines what has been done to establish and strengthen governance of migration across the region, what remains to be done and ways of strengthening migration governance through international cooperation.
Starting from a detailed review on how the multiple commitments of OSCE countries made over the past 35 years have been put into practice, the report concludes with recommendations for new policies and specific activities. More particularly, it calls for immediate measures to prevent the impact of the recent economic and social crisis on migrant workers.
The report emphasizes that effective regulation of migration can only be sustained through partnerships and cooperation between destination, transit and origin countries, relying on a framework of international standards and policies that ensure protection of the individuals concerned and facilitate dialogue and co-operation.
The report shows that migration may help to remedy future shortages of labour and skills in OSCE countries, but cannot fully replace the ageing European population. According to the report, constant inflows of some 13 million immigrants per year would be necessary in the OSCE region to keep the ratio between the total number of elderly persons (aged 65 and over) and the number of persons of working age (from 15 to 64) constant till 2050.
Remittances are identified by the report as the main benefit of migration to sending countries. In the OSCE region, remittances have grown considerably in recent years and stood at US$ 46.8 billion in 2007, with the vast majority of the outflows (US$ 42.6 billion), originating in America.
While sending countries benefit from remittances, migration may also entail a brain drain that leads to a lack of human resources in key areas and hampers economic progress and social institutions in less developed countries, the report says. It cites several examples, including Albania which lost one-third of its qualified workforce in the decade after the collapse of Communism; Ukraine where an estimated 30 per cent of the country’s scientists have left the country in the last ten years; and Bulgaria which lost over 500,000 persons with an academic degree since 1995.
Highlighting effective national migration policies and practices, the report contains background information on migration, a review of OSCE commitments on international migration, and data measuring the implementation of commitments, including numerous examples of good practice.
“This publication is a valuable reference for officials of governments and for staff of stakeholder organizations. It provides inspiration and guidance for effective national migration policies and practices. It promotes action by and co-operation among OSCE participating States, international organizations and other stakeholders, notably the business community, trade unions and civil society”, says Gloria de Pascual, Chief of the ILO International Migration Branch.
International migration has long been an important concern for ILO Member States and OSCE participating States. Labour migration has been on the agenda of the ILO since its founding in 1919 and migration-related issues have been addressed by the OSCE/CSCE since its establishment in Helsinki in 1975.
Preparation of the book was sponsored by the Greek Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2009. The ILO was commissioned to conduct research, prepare a Commitments Report for the 17th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum held in Athens last year, and then to prepare the report.