3rd extended UN Country Network on Migration meeting held in Minsk

On 11 April 2023 the third expanded meeting of the United Nations Country Network on Migration (UNCNM) was held in Minsk under the leadership of the RC and IOM. To ensure a platform for coordination and discussion of migration related issues in Belarus, the UN Country Network on Migration was established in 2020 to support the country in the implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

The meeting gathered participants from a range of government institutions, international and local organizations, migration experts and UN agency representatives. The purpose was to share the findings of the Voluntary National Review of GCM implementation in Belarus and discuss current priorities, including evidence-based policy through reliable migration data and looking at possible solutions for regular pathways and protection of migrants in irregular situation.

At the opening of meeting, Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Belarus and co-chair of the UN Country Network on Migration, stressed the official commitment of Belarus to achieve the goals of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which aims to facilitate and manage migration processes in the interests of migrants themselves and states - both receiving and countries of origin.

“As world experience shows, evidence-based migration policy management brings more benefits than problems, both to host countries and their countries of origin: it solves the problem of labor shortages, promotes interaction between people in the cultural, economic and social fields as well as addresses long-term demographic security issues”.

“Successful implementation of the global 2030 Agenda is closely linked to how countries cope with migration. In the last 5 years, the global number of people on the move has doubled and reached the level of roughly 100 million. The trend continues, and migration is growing, propelled by conflicts, climate change, inequalities – more and more people need to look for a new place to live, with better prospects for the families’ future. Thus, experts anticipate that the global number of migrants will double still, reaching 200 million globally by 2030”.

Participants, including representatives of UN agencies working in Belarus, highlighted areas where more can be done, if there is better access to migration data and a functioning referral system for regular and irregular migrants. The participants also discussed the status of migration policy, current trends and areas where international cooperation and new solutions are needed.

At the meeting, Ms. Mahym Orazmuhammedova, Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration in Belarus stressed the linkages between migration and development and the importance of effective migration management, including using migration governance indicators. She stressed the readiness of the UN Country Network on Migration to support Belarus in reaching the goals of the Global Compact and, consequently, maximizing the potential positive impact of migration on the local development.

In this vein, much of the discussion was devoted to the presentation of new approaches to migration policy monitoring. In this process, migration governance indicators are seen as useful tools for measuring how countries manage international migration. They cover a range of factors, such as legal frameworks for migration, availability of information for migrants, integration policies, and efforts to combat trafficking and smuggling. These indicators can be used by policymakers, advocacy groups, and international organizations to assess gaps and opportunities in migration governance, and to develop evidence-based policies and programs.

Another technical solution discussed was a possible migration referral system -- a process or program where migrants can receive recommendations or referrals to assistance, employers or services. The referrals may come from other migrants, migration agencies, government institutions or other organizations. The goal of these systems is usually to help migrants get settled in a new location more quickly and easily or receive critical health and social assistance.

The availability of migration data is important for several reasons. Firstly, it provides policymakers with valuable insights into the movements of people, which can inform decisions on resource allocation, infrastructure planning, and public services. Secondly, it can help identify and understand migration patterns, such as the reasons behind migration, demographics of migrants, and the destinations they are choosing. This information is critical for governments and other stakeholders, as it can help to develop policies to manage and address issues related to migration, such as population growth, economic development, and cultural integration. Finally, migration data can help to design better programs and interventions to meet the needs of migrants and their families, including providing better access to social services, housing, and health care.

At the end of the meeting, the co-chairs of UNCNM RC and IOM reiterated the readiness of the UN system in Belarus to support the development of inclusive and evidence-based solutions, especially for vulnerable migrants, including women and children.

SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals