“Harnessing the potential of human mobility”
by Dr.rer.nat. Cosmas Kombat Lambini, #MMN Ghana Migration Advisor – Germany
The United Nations General Assembly, taking into account the ever-increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December as International Migrants’ Day on 4th December, 2000. The day is also celebrated globally in honour of the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in 1990. This commemoration further reminds us of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaiming all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
This blog article seeks to highlight the significance of harnessing the potential of human mobility – The theme of this year’s Migrants Day.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that over 272 million people are currently living outside their country of origin representing 3.5% of the world population.
The importance of human mobility can therefore not be underestimated as the rate of migration keeps increasing astronomically. Available evidence shows that more humans are mobile in this age and time than ever before in history partly due to advances in transportation. Human mobility and connectivity are even made easier and faster due to advances in digital technology and the way migration information is shared through social media and other digital platforms.
Migration in general is not a bad thing
Human mobility and migration in general are not a bad thing as this is inherently part of our history as Homo Sapiens. It is increasingly clear that even in the Covid 19 pandemic and in the wake of alarming climate risks the rate of human mobility keeps soaring globally.
The numerous youth from African countries who on a daily bases risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans to Europe demonstrates this point that we cannot completely stop human mobility.
Today’s celebration of Migrants should serve as an opportunity to reflect on Human Mobility and how decision makers, Governments, Non-Governmental Organisations, private sector actors, academia, and people’s movement could harness the potential of mobility by appreciating the enormous contributions of migrants’ knowledge, networks, skills, and cultures to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthening resilience of our global society rather than the often negativity and prejudice associated with migration especially in the global north by some section of the population.
Social Media – key driver of human mobility
One key solution to harnessing this potential of migration is by advocating for free choice to migrate. This free will should be based on equitable distribution of economic opportunities among youth and vulnerable groups who are mostly prone to migrate and affirming to our common commitment to safer and dignified mobility for all people. This might sound as a mirage but if there is equity in distribution and local economic opportunities are provided to most youth, this could go a long way to change human mobility narrative especially in most African countries.
A key driver of human mobility in our digital world is the use of social media in spreading false and fake information to potential migrants. Harnessing the potential of human mobility should start with providing reliable migration information to migrants to freely choose to safely migrate and promoting economic, social and political opportunities to the youth who are mostly at the centre of human mobility.
The #MMN project is one example of a sustainable project that seeks to enhance safer human mobility and creating economic opportunities for potential migrants to decide to migrate or not migrate based on available local opportunities.