“Do we want to see migration as it has always been – a positive force that can contribute to diversity and development – or should we let others brand migration as a scourge that must be halted?”
That is the choice facing humanity, IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing posited in a video statement to a conference on Border Management in Bangkok this week.
The fourth Conference on Technical Cooperation Capacity Building for Border Management, co-organized by IOM and the Asia Pacific Smart Card Association (APSCA), closes today. It brought together over 300 participants from 36 countries, representing government, industry, the UN and civil society.
Keynote speaker Jill Helke, IOM’s Director for International Cooperation and Partnerships, emphasized the rights of migrants, referencing the Sustainable Development Goals. “Good border management means finding a balance between facilitation, freedoms, and rights, alongside the necessary controls and security considerations,” she said.
Cross-border migration is rapidly evolving, noted Helke. As millions continue to migrate to avoid conflict, escape disaster, or find new opportunities, governments must constantly update their border management systems.
For co-hosts APSCA, chairman Greg Pote said: “This conference is a fantastic opportunity for our members to find out what governments are thinking about border management, with managing migration, and to provide the solutions and the technology that can enable them to do their job more effectively and more efficiently.”
The conference was a chance for participants to exchange expertise on the optimal use of technology to create safe and dignified border management solutions. A key theme of the event was the concept of “One Person – One Identity”. Discussions on this subject covered collaborative approaches to gathering and disseminating information, reliably verifying identities, and confirming travel eligibility.
In her closing remarks today, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Nenette Motus noted: “As the United Nations migration agency, we are witnessing the increasing importance of migration for individuals, societies, governments, businesses and policy makers. We contend that it is imperative for migration to be further mainstreamed in all political agendas: nationally, regionally and internationally.”
The outcome of the series of workshops and reports will serve as the basis for recommendations on the role of the involved stakeholders to upgrade border management.