Organizer: EMN Austria
29 September 2020, online
NATIONAL EMN CONFERENCE 2020
Forecasting the Future of Global Migration
29 September 2020, 09:00 – 17:00
Researchers as well as decision makers at EU and national level are interested in rendering the magnitude and nature of future migration developments more predictable, enabling them to recognize opportunities and respond to challenges. Migration forecasts, scenarios and early warning systems are important for improving our understanding of global migration. Predicting migration trends is an inherently complex task, however. No single approach can capture all relevant aspects of migration and a careful interpretation of results is required to avoid misguided conclusions.
In this context, the conference provided a critical reflection and a differentiated understanding of future migration scenarios and proactive migration policies. The speakers included international migration researchers, national and European policy makers with experience in developing and applying migration forecasts and scenarios. Together with 180 virtual participants they discussed how policy makers can make use of predictive methodologies.
Some of the conference presentations are reproduced in a Migration Policy Practice Special Issue published in January 2021.
Opening and Keynote Speech
- Peter Webinger, Director-General for Migration, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Austria
- Marian Benbow Pfisterer, Head of the Country Office for Austria, IOM
- Elizabeth Collett, Special Adviser for Policy and Strategy to the Director General, IOM
Migration Forecasts and Scenarios: Assessing the State of Play of Predictive Migration Research
- Overview of Existing Models and Approaches to Anticipate Migration
Rhea Ravenna Sohst, University of Luxembourg/IOM GMDAC
Panel 1: Snapshots of Migration Predictions
A comprehensive understanding of the nature of future migration requires a multitude of perspectives and a comparative analysis of findings generated by forecasts, narrative scenario studies and big data analyses. This session provides insights into key findings of recent forecasts and scenario studies.
- Scenario Studies and Expert Judgement
Susanne Melde, Senior Analyst, IOM GMDAC
- An Innovative Approach: Using Online Search Data to Predict Migration
André Gröger, Assistant Professor of Economics, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
- Forecasting International Migration: Dealing with Uncertainty Across a Range of Time Horizons
Jakub Bijak, Professor of Statistical Demography, University of Southampton
Panel 2: Predicting Migration and the Implications on Europe
This session identifies common components of future migration trends to Europe and challenges of accurately predicting migration, particularly in view of unexpected events such as COVID-19.
- The Future of Migration to and within Europe – Plausible Scenarios
Rainer Münz, Migration Expert, JRC KCMD, European Commission
- Latest Trends and Future Developments in Europe
Holger Fabian Sahl, Strategic Analyst, Frontex
- COVID-19 and Future Migration Flows
Tobias Heidland, Senior Researcher, Kiel Institute for the World Economy
- Against alarmism: Remarks on the Role of Science in Projections, Forecasts and Scenario Building
Petra Bendel, Chair of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration
Migration Predictions and Proactive Migration Management
Panel 3: The Nexus between Predictions and Policy Making
The results of migration forecasts and scenarios do not easily translate into policy recommendations and decision-making, with uncertainty as an important challenge. This session explores the extent to which predictive methods have been used to inform policy decisions and how policy has influenced migration forecasting.
- Applying Forecasts at National Level: The Case of Germany
Britta Behrendt, Head of Division General Migration, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Germany
- The EU’s Efforts in Providing up-to-date Forecasts for Policy Making
Teddy Wilkin, Head of Data Analysis and Research Sector, EASO
- The Effects of Economic Development on Migration
Michael Clemens, Director of Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
- Preparing for Uncertain Migration Futures
Mathias Czaika, Head of Department for Migration and Globalization, Danube University Krems
Panel 4: The Future of Migration Forecasting
A concluding panel explores different options to prepare for future migration patterns to Europe. Special attention is placed on effective communication strategies, which are important to translate forecasts and scenarios into sustainable migration management. Panelists also discuss the role of forecasting in managing the external migration policy dimension.
- The Way Forward for National and European Policy Making
Tobias Molander, Head of International Migration, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Austria
- Forecasting based on Artificial Intelligence
Zsuzsanna Felkai-Janssen, Head of Sector for Migration (DG Home) and DG Coordinator for Artificial Intelligence, European Commission
- Dealing with Uncertainty in Migration Management
Thomas Liebig, Senior Migration Specialist, International Migration Division, OECD
- Foresight: Using Machine Learning to Forecast and Understand Forced Displacement
Alexander Kjærum, Global Advisor – Senior Analyst, Danish Refugee Council