The COVID-19 crisis: Nail in the coffin or shot in the arm for a sustainable global migration regime?

Event Type
Online Panel

Location / Date
Online, 23.09.2020


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

The 2030 Agenda and the Global Compacts for Migration and on Refugees, agreed upon in 2018, have emphasized the need for a comprehensive and cooperative approach to human mobility at the global level. Against this background, bilateral aid agencies and international organisations are directing significant resources toward supporting safe, orderly and regular migration. But what happens when there is a shock to the system that forces people to stop moving? The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into stark relief the degree to which economic development requires human mobility, both within countries and across borders. The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) welcomed a public audience to a discussion with experts from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Labour Organization, and University of Ghana.

This panel discussed the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for efforts, pursuant to the adoption of the Global Compacts, to establish a sustainable global migration regime. What are the immediate consequences for international migrants from the Global South? Will the response to COVID-19 reinforce tendencies towards nationalism or xenophobia, and thus hamper progress towards international cooperation? Alternatively, as the the human and economic costs of immobility come into sharper focus, will governments worldwide recognise the importance of migration and accelerate the implementation of international commitments? What role does development policy play in the Global Compacts and improving the situation of migrants themselves? Moderated by experts from the DIE’s Contested Mobility research team, this panel shed light on how governments and policy makers can respond to COVID-19 in a way that balances sustainable migration policy, public health, and economic development.

Panel Guests

  • Delali Badasu, Regional Institute for Population Studies/Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ghana
  • Caroline Njuki, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Nairobi, Kenya
  • Stefanie Scharf, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


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