Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
Claretian Team at the UN Team, member
On the correct pathway
I have tried to present some of the problems we have to solve about migrants and refugees. We have to consider three different levels: each country, each region, and all the world together. There are now relevant agreements, guidelines, and official documents by various Regional Organizations; and global organizations like The High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migrations (IOM), International Labor Organization (ILO), The High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR), and the United Nations Network on Migration. Talking about documents, we have an excellent base to build an international corpus of laws about migrants and refugees: UN Secretary-General (Report April 21, 2016); the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (September 19, 2016); the Global Compact for Refugees (17, December 2018); the Global Compact for Migration (19, December 2018).
The role of international organizations.
In the last years, some non-governmental based organizations have been working very hard, researching the migrant and refugees’ situation worldwide and in specific regions of the planet. These international organizations include civil society experts and also politicians from different states. Their research’s conclusions were not compulsory for anybody but have been the base for official documents approved and signed by governments afterward. Governments are not conditioned by governments and can talk freely about the situation in every case, proposing possible and creative solutions. This is an example of the Civil Society’s importance in every national, regional, or global initiative related to Global Governance. The majority of these organizations were created independent of the UN, but the most important have had a close relationship with it. The analysis and reports of these organizations created the correct environment to introduce the debate about migrants in the UN Agenda.
Currently, the UN is the only international forum open to every country and every region globally. Fortunately, the UN has elaborated excellent reflections and guidelines about Migrants to be implemented it in every country and every region. The role of the UN, at this moment, is to be the primary catalyst to concrete the principles that we have in the documents, in real life. This implementation has to be by areas and, following the Westphalia (and the UN) principles of non-interference in each state’s affairs. Still, we have to work hard in a Global Governance that surpasses Westphalia’s positions.
Some regional organizations are working migrants and refugees from a long time ago; not only does the European Union work on this question. There are bi-lateral conversations and agreements in different parts of the world, but the UN Global Compact’s global reflection has to create new spaces for seeking regional solutions for regional problems. If we think of Central Africa, for example, it is necessary to work based on the analysis and proposals made by the Central African countries; the UN could be, once again, a catalyst for final agreement and solutions; this principle is useful for every region: from the bottom and the top but working together in the middle. Sometimes, it is necessary to create new regions to analyze and resolve problems, but it is difficult to find a way to do it; in these cases, the UN could be an excellent environment to achieve it. Looking for international legitimation, everything has to be based on the UN agreements; now the UN Compacts about Migrants and Refugees give us excellent platforms to work.
The UN role is to be a catalyst for:
to creating agreement inside every region; to facilitate the creation of a new regional working group; to give guidance and support about how to look after migrants and refugees; to provide resources in human catastrophes; to become a Peacemaker in some conflicts. Everything has to be following the UN agreements. This is the current precarious situation, but we have to go further.
There are migrants and refugees because they want a better life for themselves; they are traveling through dangerous ways from the country of origin, and even we can even see them fighting against big troubles when they get to the new country. The solution is complex, and it is impossible to answer if we don’t face reality in a systemic manner. The 2030 SDG Agenda offers us an excellent framework to work on the migrant issue attending every aspect. I know there is no SDG centered on migrants, but if we want to solve the migrant’s problems, in their country of origin, during the traveling, and in the new country, we should follow this Agenda. But we have to go much further.
The reform of the UN is on the table. We need global governance; this has not to be a global government, but we need an organization going further than Westphalia, further the inviolability of borders, in some aspects. The Security Council and General Assembly have to be reoriented, looking for a regional representation and defining some aspects of the global life that have to follow the UN’s laws. But there is another urgent refurbishment to do: The ECOSOC. This permanent organization must be reorganized to create real coordination between every agency and committee depending on ECOSOC. Thinking about the migrant’s needs that I commented on before if we want to give a solution for migrants from the UN, all the agencies must be firmly coordinated with each other. Perhaps somebody thinks the UN is not necessary for fulfilling this aim; I am convinced that if the UN does not help us, but even the EU can’t solve its migration troubles. UN-ECOSOC is the matrix of the 2030 Agenda is a framework and horizon for the migrant’s future integration: Sustainable development based on Human Rights.
The New York declaration, called by the UN, clearly links Human Rights and Migrants. The 2030 Agenda includes migrants as important actors in the Sustainable Development future. To solve the real conflicts between states and the migrant vital conflicts and troubles, it is necessary to work within a network with a real Global Governance. Global governance needs the UN and requires regional organizations to (re)solve regional and global problems. The collaboration (SDG17) between governments, Civil society, and individual donors is needed to change the situation; this is as everything in international affairs if we are thinking on the new world that draws the 2030 Agenda.
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
Claretian Team at the UN Team, member