Issue 13, January 2010
homepage > Civil Society Days of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development
Civil Society Days
of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development
Seven hundred million people, as many as the entire population of Africa, would leave their home countries and settle in one of the countries of the West - USA being the most desirable destination.
 
This is one of the most compelling statements heard during Civil Society Days, organized on November 2 and 3, 2009, by the Onassis Foundation, in the context of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development. The theme of the Forum, which this year featured the participation of 250 representatives from migrant , diaspora and development NGOs, trade unions, academia and the private sector, was "Integrating migration policies into development strategies for the benefit of all". Another 30 delegates represented Greek-based organizations. The Forum attended more than 50 representatives of U.N. and other international organizations so as to convey the conclusions and suggestions expressed at Civil Society Days to the bodies they represented.

Top: Mr. Anthony Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Foundation, during his speech in the opening session.<br>
Bottom: Mrs. Marianna Moschou, Secretary of the Onassis Foundation BoD, held the Chair of the Organizing Committee at Civil Society Days
Top: Mr. Anthony Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Foundation, during his speech in the opening session.
Bottom: Mrs. Marianna Moschou, Secretary of the Onassis Foundation BoD, held the Chair of the Organizing Committee at Civil Society Days

H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Dr. Karolos Papoulias also attended the opening plenary session. Deputy Minister for the Protection of Citizen, Spyros Vougias, former Minister of Internal Affairs, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and member of Parliament Vassilis Moulopoulos, attended and spoke at the Forum. Mr. Anthony Papadimitriou, president of the Onassis Foundation, mentioned the reasons why the Foundation accepted the invitation to organize this seminal international forum, underlining that Aristotle Onassis himself set off as an immigrant in Argentina only to become one of the most prominent businessmen of all times.

Highly celebrated director Costa Gavras, chairman of the Civil Society Days, shared his personal experience as a migrant and spoke of the migrants' potential to contribute to the development of their respective host countries.

Mrs. Marianna Moschou, Secretary of the Onassis Foundation BoD and head of the Organizing Committee of the Forum, talked about the demanding task of coordinating conference activities with transparency, the complex participant selection procedures, and the challenges faced by the Organizing Committee throughout the event. She also extended an invitation to Civil Society delegates to engage in discussions based on tangible examples and best practices, and reach specific suggestions, which could be implemented in state migration policies.


Left: Anthony Papadimitriou, Marianna Moschou and Costas Gavras, C.S.D. Chair, welcoming Karolos Papoulias, President of Greece<br> 
Right: (from left) Demetrios Papademetriou, President of M.P.I., Costas Gavras, K. Newland from M.P.I., and M. Lahlou, Economics professor
Left: Anthony Papadimitriou, Marianna Moschou and Costas Gavras, C.S.D. Chair, welcoming Karolos Papoulias, President of Greece
Right: (from left) Demetrios Papademetriou, President of M.P.I., Costas Gavras, K. Newland from M.P.I., and M. Lahlou, Economics professor

"Even though we may still have no clear idea of the long-term consequences of the crisis on migration flows, we can be certain that economic recovery, when it comes, will bring about an increased demand for migrant labor", said Marianna Moschou."It is therefore important, for governments to plan ways to deal with this demand while there is still time. Civil society and the private sector can collectively work on this with governments starting now. Equally, host and home countries governments can launch their cooperation now - before circumstances force them to do so later".

Spyros Vougias, Deputy Minister for the Protection of Citizen, 
represented the Greek government in the opening plenary session of the Forum
Spyros Vougias, Deputy Minister for the Protection of Citizen, represented the Greek government in the opening plenary session of the Forum

The Organizing Committee consisted of Ambassador Georges Yennimatas; Ioannis Metaxas, professor at Athens University; scholar Antigone Lyberaki, Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Regional Development of Panteion University; Anna Triandafyllidou, Assistant Professor at the Democritus University of Thrace, Greece and Senior Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP); scholar Ruby Gropas, Lecturer in International Relations in the Law Faculty, Democritus University of Thrace and research fellow at ELIAMEP; economist Eugenia Christodoulakou; and Leda Bouzali. The Organizing Committee cooperated with the International Advisory Committee, which consisted of 21 distinguished representatives from organizations dealing with migration and development from 13 different countries and was responsible for selecting the participants in the conference from amongst more than one thousand applications.

The extent of the crucial issue of migration was revealed in a recent relevant survey conducted on a sample of about 260 thousand people in 135 countries by Gallup Institute, and presented by Jim Clifton, Gallup Inc. Chairman, and Neli Esipova, head of research and manager of Gallup World Poll, at the Forum. According to the survey, approximately 16% of the participants, namely around 700 million adults globally, wish to move to a foreign country to settle permanently; 24% of those asked would prefer to migrate to the USA, whereas Great Britain, France, Spain and Germany come first in the list of preferred European destinations. In total, about 210 million people would move to a European country.

Right: Costa Gavras, Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative on International Migration and Development, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary–General, and Deputy Minister Theodora Tzakri in a press conference on matters of international migration and development.<br> 
Left: An angle from a roundtable discussion
Right: Costa Gavras, Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative on International Migration and Development, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary–General, and Deputy Minister Theodora Tzakri in a press conference on matters of international migration and development.
Left: An angle from a roundtable discussion

Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President of the Washington DC based Migration Policy Institute (M.P.I.) stated the following:
"Migration is already one of this century' unavoidable issues.Few by-products of globalization seem to be pricklier for high income societies than the movement of people. Both immigrant origin and destination societies have become more conflicted about migration. Yet, the economic importance of migration is growing for both of them and, notwithstanding the current recession, will only grow stronger in the next two decades. Sensible and responsible immigration and integration policy requires far greater across-the-board cooperation than is now the case:Across relevant governmental agencies and levels of government within a single state;Across relevant portfolios across states;Across civil society actors and between civil society and the business community; and between the governmental and non-governmental sectors within and across states.Rich countries cannot simply exhort people to stay at home without a serious commitment to a long-term and costly endeavor to improve conditions there", he concluded.

Business Centre with PCs and Internet access for use by the participants in the Forum
Business Centre with PCs and Internet access for use by the participants in the Forum

Thereafter, the participants split to separate roundtables, each touching upon a distinct issue of the agenda: How to make the migration – development nexus work for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), "Migrant integration, reintegration and circulation for development", "Policy and Institutional Coherence and Partnerships", "Building Alliances: Business Engaging with other Civil Society Actors", "The Future of the Forum".

Hard work and successful negotiations on the part of Mrs. Marianna Moschou, head of the Organizing Committee, in preceding international meetings, resulted in a meeting between Civil Society delegates and government representatives (Interface), which bore particular importance for the entire organization of the event. The Athens Forum was the first to succeed in bringing both sides of the debate together in parallel unofficial meetings. The Civil Society delegates that were selected were given the opportunity to inform government representatives on conclusions drawn from prior debates on the C.S.D. roundtable, to voice concerns, and recommend potential solutions. The discourse was attended by government delegates from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Britain, Mexico, Argentina, Hungary, Belgium, Colombia, Finland, Norway, Brazil, Athiopia, France, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sweden, Kenya and Thailand.


Left: (from left) Milena Novy-Marx from MacArthur Foundation, main sponsor of the Forum, and Bob Gallucci, President of MacArthur Foundation, with Anthony Papadimitriou and Yiannis Ioannidis of the Onassis Foundation<br> 
Right: (from left) Neli Esipova, researcher at the Gallup Institute, Demetrios Papademetriou, Jim Clifton, President of the Gallup Institute, and Costas Gavras
Left: (from left) Milena Novy-Marx from MacArthur Foundation, main sponsor of the Forum, and Bob Gallucci, President of MacArthur Foundation, with Anthony Papadimitriou and Yiannis Ioannidis of the Onassis Foundation
Right: (from left) Neli Esipova, researcher at the Gallup Institute, Demetrios Papademetriou, Jim Clifton, President of the Gallup Institute, and Costas Gavras

Dr. Dilip Ratha, Senior Economist in the Migration and Remittances Team, Development Prospects Group, The World Bank (Washington D.C), presented, during the Closing Plenary significant, economic data regarding immigrant remittances, a dominant issue amongst discussions on the contribution of migration to development. Dr. Ratha, being himself a member of the International Advisory Committee, mentioned at the closing plenary that "based on monthly and quarterly data released by some central banks and in line with the World Bank' global economic outlook we estimate that remittance flows to developing countries will fall to $ 31 7 billion in 2009".
"While new migration flows have fallen, existing migrants are not returning even though the job market has been weak in many destination countries", said Dr. Ratha."We maintain our expectation of a recovery in migration and remittance flows in 2010 and 2011, but the recovery is likely to be shallow".

Onassis Foundation and the Organizing Committee of the Forum thanked Costas Gavras for his work with a marble sculpture ― a bronze olive branch.
Onassis Foundation and the Organizing Committee of the Forum thanked Costas Gavras for his work with a marble sculpture ― a bronze olive branch.

"In all the regions, remittance flows are likely to face three downside risks: a jobless economic recovery, tighter immigration controls, and unpredictable exchange rate movements. Despite these risks, remittances are expected to remain more resilient than private capital flows and will become even more important as a source of external financing in many developing countries. Policy responses should involve efforts to facilitate migration and remittances, to make these flows cheaper, safer and more productive for both the sending and the receiving countries".

One of the highlights of the event was also the presentation of the 2009 Human Development Report (regarding life expectancy, education and quality of life) published by the United Nations Development Programme. The facts of the report were analysed by Jeni Klugman, Director of Human Development Report Office, who underlined in her speech that there is no "typical immigrant profile" since amongst the almost one billion people who move either inside or outside their country' borders there are workers, nurses, political refuges, builders, scholars and computer engineers. She also added that this human assortment and the rules that govern its movement render human mobility one of most complex predicaments faced by modern world, even more so in the middle of a financial crisis.

Marianna Moschou offered the Director of Bancomer Foundation a commemorative art piece by Aemilia Papaphilippou
Marianna Moschou offered the Director of Bancomer Foundation a commemorative art piece by Aemilia Papaphilippou

Theodora Tzakri, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Decentralisation and E-Governance, and Chair of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development, and Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative on International Migration and Development attended and spoke at the closing ceremony. The latter made reference to the background of the Forum and to its future prospects, and thanked Onassis Foundation for its efficient organization. "I am grateful to Anthony Papadimitriou", said Peter Sutherland,"for having the vision to take on the enormous plunge of organizing the CSD. For all her efforts I'd like to specially thank Marianna Moschou; her focus on endowing the Civil Society Days with real meaning and purpose has taken this to a new level. I think Aristotle Onassis would be justifiably very proud of all that's been achieved".


Besides the formal works, there was a tour and a reception at the new Acropolis Museum
Besides the formal works, there was a tour and a reception at the new Acropolis Museum

At the end of the closing ceremony, Marianna Moschou handed the Chair of Civil Society Days over to Marianna Torres Blair, Director of Bancomer Foundation, who will be organizing the Forum in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in November 2010. The commemorative marble piece offered to the Mexican representative was commissioned exclusively for this occasion to scholar and artist Aemilia Papaphilippou.

This two-day productive discourse and exchange of experiences amongst representatives in Civil Society Days has led to a series of specific conclusions and suggestions regarding migration and development, the implications of the economic crisis, circular migration, the need for consistent findings in both politics and real-life experience, the building of alliances between the private sector and other Civil Society bodies, as well as the future of the Forum
(see www.gfmd2009.org).

These conclusions have been voiced by Civil Society general rapporteurs on November 4, 2009, before government representatives, who gathered at the Athens Concert Hall in light of the Global Forum on Migration and Development organized by the Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs. In addition, the pertinent report was handed by Costa Gavras, Chair of C.S.D., to Ban Ki-moon himself, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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