International Cooperation

© Songquan Deng/
UN General Assembly in Manhattan, New York City on March 30, 2011 © Songquan Deng/

International cooperation in refugee and migrant policy – jointly known as global migration governance – is increasingly important. Many origin, transit and host countries can no longer cope with migration-related tasks on their own. And yet to date international cooperation has been rather ineffective, consisting of two different regimes: a refugee regime that is safeguarded by international law and institutions, but has a gap where the protection of internally displaced persons is concerned; and a patchwork of regional or bilateral agreements and coordination mechanisms for migration.

In both of these, substantive course-setting is underway to further develop content and institutions. Thus the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, contain objectives and indicators for migration policy that are binding for all states. The international community also decided in September 2016 to draw up within two years two (non-binding) agreements on forced displacement and migration (the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration). Both agreements are expected to give essential structure to the global migration governance of the future.


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