Recent efforts by the UN are consistent with recommendations made by 2040 Matters and the Stimson Center.
In late September, I joined my good friend and colleague, Brian Finlay, the President of the Stimson Center, in writing a piece for The National Interest that argued that the UN needed to play a larger role on international border management. This piece was published just before the most recent meeting of the General Assembly. We noted that countries could not address the global refugee crisis, concerns over foreign terrorist travel, and economic growth without more effective border management. Given the highly fragmented nature of existing international border management efforts, we asserted that greater UN leadership in this area was required.
It appears that the UN leadership was listening. Earlier this week, the Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, addressed the Global Forum on Migration and Development. In his remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General made several recommendations for engaging the UN in international efforts to improve migration and economic development:
- We can make crossing international borders a matter of informed choice, not desperate necessity. Cross-border movements should be managed in a proactive, transparent and predictable way.
- We need better collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination. Each has their special challenges. We must work together to address them as an integrated whole.
- For many years, Governments have worked to establish clear rules for cross-border trade, finance and services. Yet, the cross-border movement of human beings remains insufficiently regulated and managed. By working together in a cooperative, innovative and constructive way, we can leave behind us the many tragedies we see unfold around the world.
The Deputy Secretary-General noted that the UN was prepared to engage aggressively to implement these recommendations. Let’s hope that it does. We need greater leadership on border management challenges involving the movement of people. They are not going away anytime soon.