There are over 258 million migrants around the world living outside their country of birth. This figure is expected to grow for a number of reasons including population growth, increasing connectivity, trade, rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change. Migration provides immense opportunity and benefits – for the migrants, host communities and communities of origin. However, there are significant challenges involved that include overwhelming social infrastructures with the unexpected arrival of large numbers of people and the deaths of migrants undertaking dangerous journeys. In addition to this there are an additional 68.5 million refugees and forcibly displaced persons in the world. Criminal offenses perpetrated by some asylum seekers fuel the intensely heated debate regarding refugee and migration policies in host countries.
The public discourse inevitably wraps and confuses the different movements, impacts and consequences. Hence, the debates and policies should be informed by evidence and facts rather than prejudice and anecdote. This seminar will discuss the present state of play of European migration and refugee debate, its broader global context, and possible ways for Finland to contribute to informed policy-making with a particular emphasis on development policies and practices.
The seminar is co-organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA).