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International migration forum points the way to better cooperation

17 January 20180 comments

The first ever International Forum on Migration Statistics has kicked off in Paris.

The Forum, organised jointly by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN’s Migration Agency, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) brought together almost 700 statisticians, researchers, policy makers and representatives from civil society.

It is affording a space for exchanging views on how to improve and innovate existing data collection to better understand global migration trends, drivers and impacts, and to support policy evaluation.

The two-day event at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris will consist of five plenary sessions and close to forty parallel sessions.

The opening ceremony was hosted by OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría; IOM Director General William Lacy Swing; and UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin.

“More and more, we are finding that without access to reliable, comprehensive and global data, managing migration policy becomes a game of blind man’s bluff,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing told the forum.

“As we meet at this forum, we need to consider migration’s human faces, of course. But we have to always keep in mind that we can’t begin to put smiles on those faces until we first grapple with the data,” he said.

IOM Deputy Director General, Ambassador Laura Thompson, will moderate the 4th plenary session on data innovation and big data for migration, seen as key tool for future policy determination.

The event will explore the challenges for improving the production and use of migration data, and will also delve deep into specific themes.

A plenary session is devoted to exploring how public opinions on migration and migrants are formed, and how these can change by facing well-communicated facts.

Other topics include big data for migration, as well as building the capacity for emerging economies and developing countries to produce migration statistics.

The Forum aims to become a bi-annual space, as part of the implementation strategy of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), for producers and users of migration-related data to share their views, identify gaps and highlight needs for training and capacity building.

The event is supported by partner organisations including ILO, UNHCR, UNODC, Eurostat and UNECE.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist