This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

UN Approves Migration Pact

The United Nations has been working on a global migration pact for quite a while now, and today there were 165 countries who signed on to it. The United States and several other countries chose not to participate, "citing concerns about migrant flows and national sovereignty" as the New York Times reported. 
The text of the accord was approved in July by every member of the United Nations except the United States. But it has since gotten caught up in a nationalist movement in Europe that has centered on the issue of immigration and prompted around a dozen countries to reject the compact outright, or to pull back from endorsing it in Morocco.
The United Nations has insisted all along that this pact was not a mandate for rich countries to take in poor migrants. Rather, it was an acknowledgement that migration is a fact of life, and every country should make good decisions about how to cope with it.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, a 34-page document, asserts that “no state can address migration alone” and outlines 23 objectives. They include the collection of better data on the movement of migrants, the strengthening of legal paths to migration, efforts to combat human trafficking and cooperation to ease the safe return of migrants to their countries of origin.
Most migration is not from “south to north” but between developing countries, he said, seeking to dispel other falsehoods and noting that there were more African migrants in other African countries than there are in Europe.
Moreover, migrants provide a boost to the economies of their host countries as well as to their countries of origin, he said. Migrants spend 85 percent of their earnings in the countries where they work. They send the remaining 15 percent home in remittances, providing vital lifelines to developing countries that add up to three times the value of official development assistance from richer nations.
The fact that most migration is not "south to north" is important to remember, but of course that does not assuage people who want to raise alarms about the south to north migration that they feel affects them. And, to be sure, part of the global compact is an attempt to address xenophobia and the integration of migrants into societies. These are not easy to do and almost always take more time than people think they should. 

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