International Metropolis Conference 2004
September 27th to October 1st, Geneva, Switzerland
Conference Theme 2004: Co-operative Migration Management: International, National and Local Answers
International migration now figures prominently on the agendas of multilateral bodies, the European Union, North and Central America, the Mediterranean and Asia-Pacific regions, and for numerous individual states world wide. At issue is not only whether but also how to manage the complex phenomena associated with international migration as well as how to manage the flows themselves. Of central importance is whether co-operative migration management can create mutual advantages for both countries of origin and destination. Countries from the developing world continue to be concerned with the loss of skilled human capital yet are often interested in the emigration of those with fewer skills in return for remittances. Developed countries increasingly welcome migrants’ human capital, both skilled and unskilled, but remain concerned with maintaining sovereignty over their borders both for post-9/11 security reasons and from the point of view of maintaining a flow level that their societies and labour markets can successfully integrate.
Recently, we have seen not only the Metropolis Project but the United Nations, the International Organization for Migration, the UNHCR, the International Labour Organization, the Berne Initiative, the Society for International Development, and others look carefully at how international co-operation will be able to help all countries involved in migration benefit from the phenomenon. The Geneva conference would like to see speakers at the forefront of this issue describe the current state of the discussions and consider what lies ahead for the international community.
National and local governments are confronting this same issue of managing migration flows and, consequently, the diversity that is characteristic of today’s societies. One of the issues of our discussion is the role of dialogue between all levels of government, international organizations, and civil society toovercome the fears and barriers to successful migration management that often arise in our contemporary multicultural societies.
The conference’s program of plenary sessions and workshops covers a range of issues from managing flows to managing their effects, from policy on admissions to policy on integration, from economic and social benefits to developed nations to facilitating development advantages for the poorer regions of the world. Discussions include the concerns over global security, economic impacts at the national level and integration measures at the local level. Of particular interest are actions to improve intercultural understanding and co-operation which has met significant challenges since September 11.