Every autumn, ICMPD’s annual flagship event provides an indispensable opportunity for thought leaders, decision-makers and frontrunners in the migration sphere to convene, connect and engage in high-level discussions on migration in Europe and beyond.
Making use of ICMPD’s wide-ranging expertise and global network, the VMC convenes politicians, senior officials, experts and practitioners from governments, international organisations, civil society, academia, the private sector and the media to debate the most burning issues of migration governance.
The 6th edition of the VMC took place on 19-20 October 2021 in Vienna’s historic city centre. It featured 9 sessions with 34 speakers; around 150 people participated in person and more than 1,300 joined virtually. Over two days of lively discussions, high-level panellists zoomed in on an array of pressing issues: the situation in Afghanistan and along key migration routes; geopolitical challenges and the instrumentalisation of migrants and refugees; and the fallout of the global pandemic on society and the economy.
Read the full conference report here.
“Our part of the world has historical, geographical, cultural and civilizational meaning, linking Europe and Asia. We believe that in terms of migration, we do have a role to play. We are trying to have a more and more comprehensive and better integrated approach with our neighbours.”
“Neutrality, of course, is not the highest good. How can we be neutral when certain values or our good friends are attacked?”
“Our principal position is that we have to bring help where it is needed in order to change circumstances in a way which enables those who have been living there to stay there, rather than being forced to leave.”
“There will be no sustainable development in Central Asia without peace and stability in Afghanistan. Central Asia, therefore, needs to react collectively.”
“The European Union Agency for Asylum will be a significant gamechanger, especially when we talk about operations and asylum management in Europe. It will also help with operational capacity building – as an agency we will be able to do and offer more to our partners outside Europe.”
“Now is the right time to re-energise, re-inforce and re-imagine how we cooperate to manage migration more intelligently and more effectively, especially in a world where increasingly the temptation is to look inward and not outward.”
“Important elements of migration partnerships are mutual trust and understanding, an intersectoral approach, and flexibility and reactiveness, allowing swift responses to migration challenges.”
“I cannot exaggerate the scale of the humanitarian crisis that Afghanistan is currently facing… I am hesitant to encourage anyone to leave the country, but it is also very difficult to convince people not to given the circumstances.”
“Going for bilateral solutions is not helping, because migration is affecting the whole continent of Africa and the whole continent of Europe. I’m proud of the continent to continent dialogue, and we need to make sure that this mechanism is strengthened.”
“We need to ensure that countries in the neighbourhood do not face undue pressure from the European Union’s stronger stance against illegal migration.”
How can we re-imagine migration partnerships to improve migration governance together? Read our experts’ takeaways from the VMC2021 discussions, which put forward strategic recommendations for Europe and its partners and identify pragmatic steps towards better migration governance.
6 takeaways for re-imagining migration partnerships
by Caitlin Katsiaficas & Justyna Segeš Frelak
Consensus, concession and compromise – taking migration partnerships to the next level
by Martin Hofmann