Leadership, inclusive coalitions and joint strategy needed to address mass migration agree participants at OSCE Security Days event
Rome, 5 March 2016 – An OSCE Security Days event on “Refocusing Migration and Security - Bridging National and Regional Responses” held in Rome on 4 March discussed short- and long-term approaches to both the current refugee crisis and structural drivers of mass migration, including conflict, economic imbalances, and climate change. Highlighting the added value of the OSCE, over 300 representatives of governments, parliaments, civil society, grassroots organizations, international and regional organizations, academics and journalists from OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation agreed that only a combination of strong leadership, inclusive coalitions and a common long-term strategy can effectively address these challenges.
In his opening remarks, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni stressed from the outset that “building new walls cannot be the answer, nor can the current migration crisis be seen only through a security lens." He also emphasized that "we cannot create a […] misleading equation between terrorism and migration.”
Gjorge Ivanov, President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said in his keynote address that “just as, at the beginning of the migrant crisis, we became trapped in humanitarian generalization, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, there was a serious danger becoming locked in a security related generalization.” He stressed that in order to provide a holistic, all-European solution, it is necessary to consider the legal and humanitarian, political, economic, social, and security aspects of the migration crisis. “The migrant and refugee crisis is a stress test for all the values, principles, institutions, policies and procedures of the European Union and European countries,” said Ivanov.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, the UN Secretary-General’s special advisor on the Sustainable Development Goals, emphasized the need to establish new international norms and an international regime that would allow better migration management in the long term.
Noting the broad interest in mobilizing OSCE resources for dialogue, awareness raising and capacity building, OSCE Secretary General Zannier highlighted the need to build new and strengthen existing partnerships between international, regional, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Pointing out that “a change in both perceptions and policies is clearly needed,” he said that migration management should not be seen as a “niche issue” for the OSCE, but as a cross-cutting, long-term endeavor for the Organization and its international partners, and expressed hope that the Security Days event would be the starting point of renewed debate and new action.
Concluding the event, Chair of the OSCE Permanent Council Eberhard Pohl thanked the Secretary General for opening up the debate to all stakeholders, stressing that “we need to work on the ideas expressed, not just take note of them. We need to explore their viability and the possibility for consensus, said Pohl. “The OSCE is not starting from scratch, it has a long tradition in dealing with issues related to migration in all three dimensions of its work and should not be shy about its achievements”, said Pohl. He stressed, however, that they needed to be consolidated into a more coherent approach.
Ambassador Pohl announced a special meeting of the Permanent Council devoted to migration to be held before the summer and prepared by a dedicated working body. Ambassador Pohl reaffirmed the German Chairmanship’s resolution to actively support further progress of the OSCE migration agenda and to develop guidance for the work ahead.