Endemic Global Corruption and Proposals for an International Anti-Corruption Court

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Migration is a critical global issue of justice and solidarity

Migration and Population

In an increasingly globalized world, migration has become a political issue that intersects with human rights, development, climate change and geopolitics. There are 272 million migrants globally, comprising 3.5 percent of the population. Gaping economic inequality between countries convince many to flee poverty in the hope of a better life. Refugees displaced by conflict and natural disasters seek protection; rapid environmental degradation due to climate change will only accelerate this trend.
In an increasingly globalized world, migration has become a political issue that intersects with human rights, development, climate change and geopolitics. There are 272 million migrants globally, comprising 3.5 percent of the population. Gaping economic inequality between countries convince many to flee poverty in the hope of a better life. Refugees displaced by conflict and natural disasters seek protection; rapid environmental degradation due to climate change will only accelerate this trend.

One out-dated feature of the modern world is the concept of a nation State with citizens within discrete borders. Before the 20th century, population movements were generally encouraged, as with nation-building through immigration in North America and Australia, and colonization around the world, if not forced with the slave trade.

The modern passport only dates from World War I. While there may be a period of adaptation, migrants are almost always an economic asset in their new home, and fears of immigrants are largely without foundation unless prejudice forces them into ghettos and blocks their integration. Migration lowers unemployment and underemployment, and creates access to more-productive and higher-paying jobs. In short, migration is a powerful tool for development.

There is a clear international legal framework for refugees fleeing persecution or conflict and seeking asylum, with an assumption that they could return to their country or origin once conditions change, but there is no equivalent international legal recognition for economic migrants or environmentally-displaced persons, apart from the non-binding Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration adopted in December 2018.

With many kinds of environmental displacement, such as from climate change and sea level rise, there will be no possibility of return, making migration permanent. Since environmental displacement is largely predictable, we need global governance of major population movements: finding new homes, helping people to move before disaster forces them out, and covering costs of movement and resettlement, thus reducing the trauma as far as possible. Receiving communities need to understand the positive benefits of migration, with a sense of solidarity for victims of climate change and other drivers of population displacement. The diversity that migrants bring should be welcomed and appreciated as part of the rich heritage of the human race.

This book’s trenchant analysis of what ails the running of the globe should be read by policymakers everywhere, and certainly by those many citizens who concern themselves with fostering a better and more functional world. Change comes slowly, but this book is a prodding catalyst.

Robert I. Rotberg, Harvard Kennedy School, author of On Governance

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