A global governance framework for international migration first emerged through flexible and informal consultations in the mid-2000s and gradually became more institutionalized with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, which led to the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (2018), the Global Compact on Refugees (2018), and the inclusion of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the family of UN agencies. These agreements aimed to better manage regional crises that had spillover effects in a high number of neighbouring countries in the Global South and then other destinations in the Global North.
International policy and civil-society leaders alike agreed that migration, as a global challenge, could not be managed either by a single country or bilaterally. At the discursive level, the transnational attempts of cooperation and burden sharing have favoured a narrative of safe, orderly and regular migration. However, realities on the ground demonstrate that migration flows are far from being “safe and orderly,” while burden sharing is difficult to measure. Moreover, migration and asylum-seeking movement are largely intertwined. Complexity, fragmentation, messiness are inevitably aspects of the governance of asylum and migration and have to be better understood.
In this project, we aim to explore the features of transnational migration governance, particularly its messiness, by focusing on both policies and narratives. More specifically, we aim to examine the interactions of governing actors operating at multiple scales, their interests and the mechanisms that they mobilize.
During the last decade, the emergencies in Syria and Venezuela represent two, ongoing, large-scale forced displacements. More than 5 million people have been displaced in each situation and have sought refuge in their neighbouring countries, principally in South America for Venezuelans and the Middle East for Syrians. In both crises, temporary policy measures stand out at the centre of policies of host states. Such measures are implemented by different international, national and local actors, both state and non-state. These two massive forced displacements have also spilled over further to North America and Europe, where migrants are often following irregular pathways due to the strict controls and lack of ‘durable solutions’.