International Migration

Support from the Endeavor Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations - International Migration Initiative, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
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Support from the Endeavor Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations - International Migration Initiative, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Directed by Professor Michael W. Doyle, Mr. Gregory Maniatis and (formerly) Professor T. Alexander Aleinikoff, the Columbia Global Policy Initiative launched its project on International Migration in 2013. The project aims to identify effective policies that will advance international cooperation on migration in order to amplify the positive aspects of migration and curtail its negative consequences.

Activities of the project include:

  • Development of a Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC) led by Professor Doyle. The MIMC sets out to fill the key gaps in international law that leave many people unprotected, by establishing the minimum rights afforded to all people who cross state borders as visitors, tourists, students, migrant workers, investors or residents, family members, forced migrants and refugees, as well as to migrants caught in crisis and migrant victims of trafficking.  After nearly two years of study and debate, the MIMC represents a consensus among over 40 academics and policymakers in the fields of migration, human rights, national security, labor economics, and refugee law. It serves the ambitious goal of creating a holistic, rights-respecting governance regime for all aspects of international migration, filling in the gaps in the existing international legal regime and expanding protections where needed. CGPI will publish the MIMC Columbia Journal for Transnational Law and organize launch events with academics around the world. 
  • The Migration Consensus Initiative: CGPI in partnership with the Refugee Hub at the University of Ottawa has launched "A Call for a Migration Consensus," in the context of the upcoming negotiation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and the first-ever UN intergovernmental conference on migration, to be held in Morocco in late 2018. The Migration Consensus Initiative will generate policy ideas relevant to the international discussions on the Global Compact and beyond. It also will convene key stakeholders from among governments, experts, and civil society to help build a consensus around a common agenda that can address both the challenges and the promise of migration.
  • Global Mayors Summit  Sep. 18-19, 2017: CGPI, Concordia, the City of New York, and the Open Society Foundations hosted a Global Mayors Summit on migration and refugee policy and practice on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to enable a more vigorous role for cities and local governments in developing international migration and refugee policy.

  • Private Sector Summit on Refugees and Migrants Sep. 20, 2016: CGPI, Concordia, the International Organization for Migration, and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, with the support of the Open Society Foundations and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, hosted a series of high-level interactive discussions on the private sector’s role and responsibility in addressing global migration challenges and the current refugee crisis. A curated gathering of 200 cross-sector leaders joined this invitation-only forum. The plenary session issued a Call to Action to all 2,000+ Concordia Summit attendees on the need to combine efforts and partner across sectors to provide tangible solutions for forced migration.

  • The project advised and supported the work of Mr. Peter Sutherland in his role as the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration (SRSG) from 2013 through the end of his mandate in March 2017. At the request of the Secretary-General, Mr. Sutherland produced a Report by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration to the UN membership (known as the Sutherland Report). This report, released on Feb. 3, 2017, provides 16 detailed recommendations for the better management of migration through international cooperation, and proposes ways of strengthening the engagement of the UN system on migration.


Policy Goals

  • Formulate new rules for migration that can benefit migrants as well as states of origin, transit, and destination.
  • Demonstrate that liabilities and inefficiencies of migration can be curbed while its quality and outcomes can be significantly improved through improved policies.
  • Contribute to a new normative and legal agenda on international mobility that further entrenches the rights of mobile people and addresses the gaps in current international legal regimes.
Associate Director, Columbia Global Policy Initiative
Project Coordinator on International Migration, Columbia Global Policy Initiative