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Global relevance – German Government seeks international dialogue on migration

29.05.2017 - Article

The Federal Foreign Office is stepping up its cooperation on displacement and migration with international organisations.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in conversation with Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in conversation with Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.de

The Federal Foreign Office is stepping up its cooperation on displacement and migration with international organisations. At the Third Berlin Round Table on Refugees and Migration, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said today that the aim was to learn together from the challenges of recent years.

Two years after the height of the refugee crisis in summer 2015, the issue remains as topical as ever. It is all the more important that the international community now learns from recent years and establishes guidelines on displacement and migration. Europe needs to play a more significant role and to speak with one voice in order to overcome the causes of displacement. “We can only prevent flows of refugees from Africa and the Middle East if we work together to combat climate change, rearmament and religious fanaticism,” Foreign Minister Gabriel said after the event.

Joint engagement

In addition to tackling the causes of displacement, it is important to provide the countries affected with support in coping with migration flows. The overall common goal is to alleviate people’s suffering. The aim is thus to work more closely together at international level. The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) provides a way of doing so. Germany currently chairs this informal dialogue forum, which is open to all United Nations Member States and serves as a forum for discussing best practice in managed migration. The participants of the Third Berlin Round Table agreed today to continue working together in the GFMD.

Berlin Round Table

From left to right, Elhadj As Sy, Louise Arbour, Sigmar Gabriel, Filippo Grandi, William Swing, Dimitris Avramopoulos
From left to right, Elhadj As Sy, Louise Arbour, Sigmar Gabriel, Filippo Grandi, William Swing, Dimitris Avramopoulos© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.de

A further aim is to continue the Berlin Round Table dialogue forum in order to step up the German Government’s cooperation with the international organisations represented at the event. Following the two previous Berlin Round Table events in 2015 and 2016 on concrete ways of working together on displacement and migration, Foreign Minister Gabriel invited high-level representatives of various international organisations to the Federal Foreign Office once again today. Along with Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, the event was attended by Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, William Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, was also present, as the topic is of relevance to the entire European Union.

Khartoum Process

The aim is to find lasting solutions.
The aim is to find lasting solutions.© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.de

In order to find lasting solutions, the EU is already working on a dialogue with countries of origin, for example in the Khartoum Process with countries at the Horn of Africa. In this context, representatives of East African countries and experts from international organisations last met at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 18 and 19 May to discuss the relevant issues. All participants agreed that it is vital to guarantee a minimum level of protection to refugees and displaced people, who often experience great deprivation. This goes beyond humanitarian aid, which enables people to live in dignity and safety and alleviates the suffering of those who are currently unable to help themselves. It is also important to create educational and employment opportunities in order to give refugees and internally displaced persons long-term prospects close to their homes.

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