Foreword by Director General Antonio Vitorino
IOM’s responsibility to provide an objective and balanced account of migration globally has never been more important. Not only is the political salience of migration high, and frequently fevered, but the capacity for rapidly disseminating disinformation to influence the public discourse has expanded.
Twenty years ago, IOM published the first World Migration Report with the stated aim of providing an authoritative account of migration trends and issues worldwide. With the initial report published in 2000, the series has quickly become established as IOM’s flagship publication.
The early World Migration Reports were framed around specific themes. They provided deep dives into topics such as labour mobility, migrant well-being and communication on migration. But, with time, there was a sense that the broader landscape and complexity of migration issues was being neglected.
Times have changed, dramatically so. Migration is now a top-tier political issue interconnected to human rights, development, and geopolitics at national, regional and international levels. Accordingly, IOM has enhanced our flagship series to ensure that the World Migration Report is, in fact, a world migration report.
We have revamped the series to offer a more strategic contribution to the public debate. We have strengthened our collaborative partnerships with scholars and applied researchers in order to benefit from their diverse expertise and knowledge. We have made content and structural changes to increase the World Migration Report’s utility to the evidence base on migration globally, in line with IOM’s growing role in data collection and analysis.
The World Migration Report 2018 is the most downloaded of all IOM publications. It is clearly fulfilling the need to provide a balanced understanding of migration’s complexities, present the latest global data and information in an accessible way, and explore and explain complex and emerging migration issues.
As the United Nations’ migration agency, IOM has an obligation to demystify the complexity and diversity of human mobility. The report also acknowledges IOM’s continuing emphasis on fundamental rights and its mission to support those migrants who are most in need. This is particularly relevant in the areas in which IOM works to provide humanitarian assistance to people who have been displaced, including by weather events, conflict and persecution, or to those who have become stranded during crises.
Likewise, IOM remains committed to supporting member states as they draw upon various forms of data, research and analysis during policy formulation and review processes. Indeed, this is reflected in IOM’s Constitution where the need for migration research is highlighted as an integral part of the Organization’s functions. The World Migration Report is a central component of this important function.
In this era of heightened interest and activity towards migration and migrants, we hope this 2020 edition of the World Migration Report becomes a key reference point for you. We hope it helps you to navigate this high-profile and dynamic topic during periods of uncertainty, and that it prompts reflection during quieter moments. But most importantly, we hope that you learn something new from the report that can inform your own work, be it in studies, research and analysis, policymaking, communication, or migration practice.