IOM and OSCE Lead Discussions on a New Narrative for Migration

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 Jan 15, 2018

Special Advisor to the Secretary General, Gervais Appave, made a keynote speech at a joint IOM/OSCE event entitled “Perception is not reality: Towards a new narrative of migration” which took place at OSCE’s headquarters in Vienna on International Migrant’s Day (18 December).

The audience consisted largely of member of diplomatic community in Vienna, together with academia, other international organizations and civil society actors. Specialized think tanks andm edia from West and East of Vienna also attended the day-long event.

The gap between reality and perception had widened, with reinforced stereotypes, misconceptions and prejudices about migrants, they noted.

IOM’s Gervais Appave said that there is a great deal of existing common ground and it hinges on the understanding that migration is not so much a problem to be solved as a human reality to be managed.

"We need to offer hope to those facing economic despair, to provide legal pathways for more migrants or circular migration options for those who wish to work and return home,” he said. “If we do not come up with solutions the smugglers will do it for us, at great cost to human life and to the fabric of our societies.”

"The benefits of migration go well beyond the positive contribution of migrants to the global economy,” noted OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger. “Circulation of competencies, skills and knowledge benefit the societies of origin, destination and the migrants themselves.”

“Frequently presented in terms of ‘crisis’, migration is often discussed in ways that are one-sided and prone to induce misperception,” said Greminger, underlying how facts about migration are often overlooked.

Ambassador Florian Raunig, Head of the Task Force for the 2017 OSCE Austrian Chairmanship, said: “As a global phenomenon, current migration patterns and refugee movements are a shared responsibility of the international community. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that, if managed and regulated properly, migration can be beneficial to all parties involved. We must work together to unlock the full potential that migrants can have for economic development and prosperity at the national, sub-national and municipal level.”