LINK2007. A new approach to migration policies
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21-03-2023 | di COOPI

LINK2007. A new approach to migration policies

In order to tackle the issue of migration, it is essential to move away from the emergency logic and ideological oppositions, starting a constructive and lasting confrontation involving all the realities that can provide a concrete contribution. A few days after the umpteenth tragedy at sea, LINK2007 - Cooperazione in Rete renews its commitment to dialogue by presenting the document "Government of immigration and cooperation with countries of origin", which aims to lay the foundations for a new approach to migration policies and the management of refugees and asylum seekers. The coordination network - which brings together important and historic Italian NGOs for international cooperation and solidarity - calls on all actors involved, starting with the Government and Parliament, to valorise the extraordinary wealth of experience and capacity for action of civil society organisations that have been working alongside migrants for decades. 

Not considering migration a structural phenomenon, which as such requires to be governed with systemic and coordinated strategies, would be to perpetuate a serious mistake. It is therefore necessary to shift from Viminale policy to Palazzo Chigi policy, abandoning the current approach focused on security and containment. To embrace a broader vision, it is first necessary to fill the many gaps and distortions in the dominant narrative. Starting with the spotlight turned almost exclusively on the rescues by NGOs in the central Mediterranean, which in the last five years have only been involved in 12-14% of total landings. Equally urgent is a revision of the regulations, which for over twenty years have been based on the Bossi-Fini law, today even more inadequate to provide answers in a rapidly changing world. 

However, supranational institutions, especially the UN and the European Union, which certainly need to be more active, are often relegated to the sidelines, whereas they could favour a global governance of migrations provided they receive the due delegation of competences from national states. In this sense, the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees, approved in 2018 by the Glass Palace Assembly, which provide useful models for governments to develop coordinated policies, are also highly relevant. 

At the European level, it is imperative to change the rules as soon as possible. To govern the phenomenon, clear rules are needed that define admissions on the basis of the socio-economic indicators of individual countries. Only in this way is it possible to transform the needs of destination countries into opportunities for newcomers, ensuring legal entry and stay. The much-desired European pact on migration has never seen the light of day, while the reform of the Dublin agreements on asylum seekers is currently not on the agenda. The latter will take time and negotiations, but in the meantime, Italy can adopt a system of reception of refugees and asylum seekers spread throughout the peninsula, with small numbers for each region and province, so as to strengthen the link between territory, reception and inclusion. 

Despite the difficult economic situation, there are many actions that can contribute to changing the global picture: from ensuring the poorest countries the 0.7% of the Gross National Income promised by the OECD countries (Italy is stuck internally at 0.25%), to readmission and repatriation agreements signed in a perspective of partnership and true cooperation; from granting citizenship to the new generations of immigrants inserted in our social fabric, to the fight against traffickers in Libya and elsewhere. 

By 2050, Africa's population will double to around 2.3 billion, with a likely pool of 750 million people of working age. At the same time, Italy's population is expected to decrease by 15 million. The opportunities of these developments must be seen now: Africa needs Europe and Europe needs Africa. The creation of a permanent, sufficiently resourced Euro-African partnership can chart the course for renewed cooperation between the two continents. The nexus between migration and development is indeed strong and calls for a reflection on the kind of complementarity between Africa and Europe, based on common interests and shared values, putting an end to the senseless sense of superiority in order to listen and define a common path. Among the first concrete signals, the issue of the debt of African countries, evaluating the opportunity to convert it into investments in local currency for the creation of wealth and new jobs. Investments to be integrated also with the role of the private sector, incentivised through a dedicated Africa Fund. 

Contrary to the common vulgate, the majority of migrants do not come from countries in extreme poverty, but have the minimum resources and education necessary to be able to imagine and carry out emigration. Many of them have a school education and speak several languages. Many show a strong entrepreneurial initiative, investing both in Italy and in their countries of origin. Their transnationalism - that is, the fact that they are integrated, while maintaining close ties with their communities of origin - can foster co-development initiatives at a territorial level, involving immigrant communities and public administrations in Italy and in their territories of origin. 

These are some of the proposals put forward by LINK2007 in its new position paper, with the aim of contributing to the definition of effective and shared policies for the reception and management of migration flows. Faced with the perpetuation of deaths, exploitation and shipwrecks, a profound rethink of the current rules is indispensable. More than 26,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean over the last 10 years. Years of clashes and political exploitation have in no way improved the condition and management of foreigners who leave their country in search of fortune. It is time to turn the page. 

LINK2007 is a coordinating consortium association that brings together important and historical Non-Governmental Organisations for international cooperation and solidarity: Amref, Cesvi, Ciai, Cisp, Coopi, Cosv, Elis, Icu, Intersos, Lvia, Doctors With Africa Cuamm, Soleterre, Weworld, World Friends, Le Reseau Association, Fondazione Corti Onlus. It was set up to share and pool values, knowledge, experience and know-how, in order to give greater strength to development cooperation and humanitarian aid actions, enhancing their different specificities while maintaining their profound meaning.