Geneva – Launched today at the 2019 IOM Council meeting by IOM Director General, António Vitorino, the latest edition of its flagship publication, the World Migration Report 2020 (WMR 2020), continues the organization’s commitment to providing information on migration that is well-researched, rigorous and accessible.
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In a global media environment highly interested in the issue of migration, the need for verified, evidence-based analysis on this defining issue of our time has never been more urgent. As the UN-related agency responsible for migration, it has long been IOM’s imperative to promote a balanced understanding of migration across the world.
"IOM has an obligation to demystify the complexity and diversity of human mobility,” Director General Vitorino told representatives of IOM's member states.
"As this report shows, we have a continuously growing and improving body of data and information that can help us ‘make better sense’ of the basic features of migration in increasingly uncertain times,” he said.
First published 20 years ago, this tenth edition in the World Migration Report series provides the latest data and information on migration as well as analysis of complex and emerging migration issues. WMR 2018 was downloaded over 400,000 times.
Topics covered in the report include human mobility and environmental change, migrants’ contributions in an era of disinformation, children and unsafe migration, migration and health (among others), which are not only timely, but are also highly relevant for both specialist and general audiences.
Ambassador Doreen Debrum, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, who also spoke at the launch, welcomed the report, stressing that “the Republic of the Marshall Islands is now at the brink. Each scientific report brings home a more profound and serious exposé of the imminent risks, threats and dangers posed by climate change; this would put the entire Marshallese population at risk, and most likely result in the forced relocation of our people, and the loss of our homeland.”
German Ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg pointed out that migration has become an intensely debated issue in societies around the globe.
“This is a good development. However, we have to face the risk of undue politization and misrepresentation of facts," he said. "The World Migration Report will contribute to a constructive discussion of this highly sensitive issue and lay the ground for much needed international cooperation”.
The report builds on the critical success of WMR 2018, with various chapters written in collaboration between IOM experts, migration practitioners and some of the leading migration researchers in the world.
Marie McAuliffe, co-editor of the WMR 2020, stressed the significance of partnerships.
“To capture the latest evidence on migration, the thematic chapters are authored by some of the leading researchers in the field, and the report was co-edited with the distinguished scholar, Professor Binod Khadria, of Jawaharlal Nehru University in India," she said.
"To ensure WMR 2020 provides a high-quality contribution as a major reference report on migration, the draft report was peer-reviewed by leading migration academics and IOM thematic specialists prior to finalization."
The WMR 2020 is the first to be published in a digital-only format, a measure taken in recognition of the need for environmentally sustainable material in both process and content. Readers from around the world, including policymakers, academics, migration practitioners, journalists, students and the general public, will be able to download the publication for free in English and Spanish, while work on other translations continues.
If the positive critical reception of prior editions is any indication, the publication of the WMR 2020 will mark another step forward in the global understanding of migration. In academic literature, researchers have cited the WMR 2018 in more than 550 peer-reviewed publications, theses or dissertations. Blogs have utilized the WMR as the primary document to fact-check unfounded claims about migration, while the figures and infographics help users across various areas of work to quickly digest the data and information in the report.
As just one example of the WMR in action, Jacqueline Bhabha, Professor at the University of Harvard, said, “several chapters of the report are perfect for introducing my students to new topics. The report is very well-written and nicely researched.”
As migration continues to be an issue of heightened interest, the WMR 2020 is key to meeting the growing demand for evidence-based, high-quality research on this issue, while also helping to debunk the ‘fake news’ and misinformation designed to influence public and political discourse.