Migration as a Critical Nexus of Human Development and Security

Migration and Population

In an increasingly interconnected world, migration has become a highly politicised issue which intersects with human rights, climate change, and the transfer of knowledge. According to the International Organisation for Migration, there were approximately 281 million migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6% of the global population. Migration across the globe has been motivated by a multitude of factors: movement to benefit from greater economic opportunities, religious and ethnic persecution, and most recently, environmental displacement from climate change. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the positive contribution of migrants towards inclusive growth and sustainable development.
In an increasingly interconnected world, migration has become a highly politicised issue which intersects with human rights, climate change, and the transfer of knowledge. According to the International Organisation for Migration, there were approximately 281 million migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6% of the global population. Migration across the globe has been motivated by a multitude of factors: movement to benefit from greater economic opportunities, religious and ethnic persecution, and most recently, environmental displacement from climate change. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the positive contribution of migrants towards inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Migrants are almost always an economic asset in their host country as they are integral to development, trade liberalisation, as well as the transfer of knowledge. In particular, the money migrants transfer back to their home country (known as remittances) places them in an economically unique position. The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants states that the flow of money from migrants represents not only a source of foreign exchange for developing countries but also a reliable source of income for millions of families. This is evidenced by the 2008 global financial crisis, where foreign direct investments in developing countries plunged by 89%, whilst money sent by migrants to their families dipped by 5% only. Additionally, migration facilitates economic stability by bringing in the necessary skillsets for a country’s key sectors.

In 2018, the UN endorsed two mechanisms: the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. Both attempt to support international migration in a holistic manner whilst respecting states’ sovereign right to determine who enters and stays in their territory, thus strengthening the contribution of migrants to sustainable development. Yet, these objectives are increasingly challenged by the political, social and environmental stresses catalysed by rapid population growth, which is projected by the UN to reach 11 billion people by the end of this century.

 

 

 

 

Rapid population growth is a global catastrophic risk. It showcases the extreme inequality across the globe: the lack of female empowerment towards education, economic and political participation, crippled welfare systems which fail to provide social security, and the absence of universal education in vesting individuals with the ability to inspire change. Large scale immigration undermines governments’ capacity to provide adequate social and physical infrastructure. Furthermore, the rise of nationalism built on nativism,xenophobia, and the rapid growth of the human population against planetary limits and globalisation serves to further aggravate the status quo. Whereas excessive consumption of a resource does not yet exhaust the resource itself, it reduces its capacity to produce the resource, hence indebting future generations.

 

 

Rapid population growth is a global catastrophic risk. It showcases the extreme inequality across the globe: the lack of female empowerment towards education, economic and political participation, crippled welfare systems which fail to provide social security, and the absence of universal education in vesting individuals with the ability to inspire change. Large scale immigration undermines governments’ capacity to provide adequate social and physical infrastructure. Furthermore, the rise of nationalism built on nativism,xenophobia, and the rapid growth of the human population against planetary limits and globalisation serves to further aggravate the status quo. Whereas excessive consumption of a resource does not yet exhaust the resource itself, it reduces its capacity to produce the resource, hence indebting future generations.

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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