04/2004: Dr. Jeff Crisp


Dr. Jeff Crisp
Director of Policy Development and Research,
Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM), Geneva


Policy and programme priorities for the newly-established
Global Commission on International Migration


Ü Eurasylum Ltd: The Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM) was established in December 2003 on the initiative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with a view to developing a framework for the formulation of a coherent, comprehensive and global response to migration issues. What will be the GCIMs initial policy and programme priorities, and in which particular policy sectors, or in relation to which regional concerns, will the GCIMs key objective of analysing gaps and inter-linkages in current approaches to migration be initially applied?

Ü Dr. Jeff Crisp: In view of the very broad mandate given to the GCIM, as well as the limited timeframe and resources available to the Commission, a major concern has been to identify those issues and problems which require further analysis. On the basis of the Commissions first meeting, which was held in Stockholm earlier this year, as well as consultations with experts, governments, international organizations and NGOs, we have prioritised six primary policy areas:

Ø The current and future role of migrants in the global labour market, including the questions of demographic and technological change, and their implications for the supply of and demand for migrant labour.

Ø The contribution of international migration to the processes of economic growth, development and poverty reduction, both in sending and receiving countries.

Ø The linkages between irregular migration (including smuggling, trafficking and asylum migration), state security and human security.

Ø The situation of migrants in society, including the issues of integration, citizenship and transnationalism, as well as public and political perceptions of international migration.

Ø The normative and legal framework that applies to different categories of international migrant, including migrant workers, irregular migrants and asylum seekers.

Ø The governance of migration, focusing particularly on the role of regional migration processes as well as the functions of and relationship between different international organizations.

The issues of human rights and gender will be mainstreamed in the work of the Commission and will be considered under each of the themes outlined above.

Ü Eurasylum Ltd: Another key axis in GCIMs mandate is to promote a comprehensive debate among governments, international organisations, academia, civil society, the private sector, the media and other actors. What will be the initial thematic priorities for such a comprehensive debate and what mechanisms will be put in place to generate, collect and process inputs from such disparate actors, not least in view of the relatively limited budget initially allocated to the Commission?

Ü Dr. Jeff Crisp: A number of different mechanisms will be used to achieve these objectives and to ensure that the perspectives of different actors are taken into account by the Commission.

First, the Commissioners themselves will be meeting on a regular basis to discuss the priority issues they have identified and to develop policy proposals and options in relation to each of them.

Second, the Commission will be holding a series of  Regional Hearings covering five main areas of the world: sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East and Mediterranean. The Commission will invite a wide range of stakeholders to participate in each of these hearings, including governments, regional bodies, international organizations, migrant associations and the private sector.

Third, we will be convening a number of Stakeholder Consultations, enabling different groups of stakeholders  the media, trade unions, the corporate sector, parliamentarians and civil society institutions, for example, to discuss their role and interests in the issue of international migration.

Finally, the GCIMs Secretariat has developed a policy analysis and research programme which will be undertaken over the next year, and which will provide input for the Commissions report, which will be submitted to the UN Secretary-General in mid-2005. This programme of policy analysis and research will involve external experts and institutions in different parts of the world, and will include the publication of a new series of papers titled Global Migration Perspectives. We very much welcome contributions to this series, details of which can be found on our website, http://www.gcim.org.

Ü Eurasylum Ltd: In practical terms, how will synergies and divisions of competence be established with other international agencies with an approaching global mandate, most notably the IOM, ILO and UNHCR?

Ü Dr. Jeff Crisp: We are very aware of the fact that many long-established organizations, including ILO, IOM, UNHCR and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, are involved in the issue of international migration. The Commission certainly does not want to duplicate their work, and is also keen to benefit from the wealth of experience they bring to the issue. The Commission Secretariat has already met with a number of these agencies, and will be involving them in many of its future activities, so as to develop the kind of synergies referred by you in your question. At the same time, we believe that the GCIM has a number of unique attributes: it is not an operational agency, it has been established for a limited period of time, and it has the support of the UN Secretary-General. The composition of the Commission, which is gender-balanced, geographically diverse and which includes individuals with a wide range of professional experience, also ensures that the GCIM is equipped to discharge the important mandate which it has been given.