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Flows of refugees currently moving Europewards are developing into a formidable challenge for the international community

14.09.2015 The flows of refugees currently moving Europewards are developing into a formidable challenge for the international community. Individual actors are plainly bewildered and overwhelmed and it is suddenly very clear why we need global cooperation—cooperation across numerous borders. Despite this, the various parties concerned have so far failed to develop any rules for effective action and often have no grasp of the bigger picture and of the extent of the processes involved. A five-point plan developed by Centre Co-director Dirk Messner attempts to gain an overview of the different factors driving the refugee-crisis.

Whilst identifying political instability as the major culprit, Professor Messner warns of further movements of refugees ‘if international climate-policy should fail’. To counter such trends, he says, will take time: ‘None of the initiatives that are called for are simple. They all demand perseverance, major resource-inputs, and bold political reforms.’

The plan’s five points are as follows:

1.       Rethinking the Near and Middle East

There should be a radical reordering of the MENA region, and a wide-ranging international negotiating process should be launched with a view to achieving this.

2.       Compassionate and civilized solutions for refugees across the world

Multilaterally protected security-zones should be set up across the globe and there should be a substantial increase in aid to countries such as Lebanon and Turkey—and also Pakistan, Uganda, and Chad—which are home to significantly higher numbers of refugees (per inhabitant) than Europe.

3.       Better integration of refugees and immigrants

This includes finding ways of facilitating ‘circular migration’—meaning, for example, ensuring the individuals concerned can work and be trained and are thus well-equipped to return to their countries once stability is restored there.

4.       Tackling the causes of flight

There is no alternative to increased involvement in crisis states. Development policy, security policy, and shrewd diplomacy continue to be of major importance, as do the opportunities which the international justice system offers for prosecuting human-rights violations.

5.       Education for world citizenship

There is a need for members of host societies to be better informed about the cultures of minorities (new citizens). There should be a long-term education-policy aimed at achieving this and we should espouse Kant’s aim of transforming citizens of nations into citizens of the world.

Much of the Centre’s research has been devoted to finding out whether it is possible to generate a global ‘we identity’ based on world citizenship and to create a shared awareness that enables us to tackle global problems—most notably in relation to the environment. But current events show very clearly that with the kind of mobility that is possible today (thanks to transport infrastructure, omnipresent GPS facilities, and mobile information-networking), sharp differences in quality of life can trigger highly ‘spontaneous’ and adaptable migratory movements and flows of refugees (what Professor Messner calls ‘boomerang effects’). Unless the international community develops schemes of ‘global social impact assessment’ that allow it to evaluate, in a systematic and foresighted way, the far-reaching political, economic, and cultural effects of (its own) actions, the notion of open borders will come under threat from these new realities.

[German, first published]
Große Ideen für große Probleme gesucht
Krisen verschwinden nicht einfach durch Wegschauen. Mit kleinen Ideen kommen wir auch nicht weiter.
Ein Fünf-Punkte-Plan zur Bewältigung der Flüchtlingskrise
ein Gastbeitrag von Dirk Messner
ZEIT ONLINE, 10. September 2015

Ein Fünf-Punkte-Plan zur Bewältigung der Flüchtlingskrise: es gibt keine kleinen Lösungen für große Probleme
Messner, Dirk
Die aktuelle Kolumne (11. September 2015)
Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

[English versions]
A five-point plan for dealing with the refugee crisis: there are no small solutions to big problems
Messner, Dirk
The Current Column (11 September 2015)
Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

A five-point plan for dealing with the refugee crisis: there are no small solutions to big problems
By Dirk Messner
KATOIKOS.EU

Martin Wolf
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