Informing about migration is no longer a simple task. Complex times bring complex migratory contexts. Stand-alone figures do not seem to be enough to account for the current trends and patterns, so a comprehensive analysis is needed in order to understand migration in a rapidly changing global scenario. This seems to be one of the main factors shaping the International Organization for Migration (IOM) World Migration Report 2020. Recently published, the Report is logically structured in two parts. Part I presents key data and information on migration, with a main estimation of 272 million migrants globally, nearly two-thirds being labour migrants. The figure, according to IOM, represents the 3.5% of the world’s population and implies an increase compared to the 2018 Report (244 million). This part includes separate chapters on global migration trends and patterns, regional dimensions and developments, and a discussion of recent contributions to migration research and analysis by academia and a wide range of different organizations, including IOM.

The IOM 2020 Report focuses on developments in migration over the last two-year period, highlighting the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and the Global Compact on Refugees as a historic change at the global level. However, the document mentions a context of major migration and displacement events during the same period “that have caused great hardship and trauma as well as loss of life”. Special emphasis is put on conflicts/crisis such as the ones in Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Bangladesh and Central African Republic, among others. The Report also echoes the growing recognition of the impacts of environmental and climate change on human mobility.

For Part II, The IOM World Migration Report 2020 taps into academic and experts’ research to provide perspective in migration and mobility within an era of “discontent” and “increasingly uncertain times”. “The age of anger”, as some are calling these times, according to the Report, is the result of broader global economic, social, political and technological transformations that are affecting life in general, including migration, as these profound changes are impacting the current environment in which migration occurs.

Among these changes, that are happening “beyond all expectations and predictions”, the IOM Report highlights major political shifts, especially in civic engagement through emerging social media and other online platforms. Transformations in political leadership are also analysed, particularly the manifestations of “disregarding common interest in preference for personal interest”, a “systematic corrosion” that can lead to human rights violations.

According to IOM, the growing complexity of migration is also due to the issue becoming increasingly weaponized, particularly in the political arena.

The current relation between migration and new forms of technology is also analysed, as well as the growing understanding of patterns and trends due to the increasing availability of data and research.

Additionally, Part II includes insights on other “emerging migration issues” such as migrants’ contributions to societies; migration, inclusion and social cohesion; migration and health; children and unsafe migration; migrants caught in crises and recent developments in global migration governance.

The IOM World Migration Report 2020 marks the twentieth anniversary of the World Migration Report series.

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