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Tackling Migration from the Top: MiRPAL High Level Meetings in the CIS Region

Over the last month, a series of World Bank Migration workshops were carried out in MiRPAL (Migration and Remittance Peer Assisted learning) CIS-member states—namely Tajikistan, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the Kyrgyz Public. The objective of these intitatives was to get high level government attention in these respective countries on the most critical and urgent issues to improve migration processes in these countries.

Since 2009, following the onset of the global economic crises, the World Bank MiRPAL Program, supported by DfID (UK), has been successfully working on building up its core work program on migration management with analytical work, knowledge sharing, and advocacy. The MiRPAL Program initiative is targeted at developing one of the widest networks and biggest "community of practice", bringing together the best local specialists and international experts working on migration and remittances issues covering the CIS territory of nine countries: Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Tackling Migration from the Top: MiRPAL High Level Meetings in the CIS RegionThe latest MiRPAL Workshops in November and December 2011 brought together migration specialists including government officials, representatives of migration agencies, academics, and think tanks concerned with problems related to migration and the labor market, to share their experience and get recommendations and support in order to improve migration management in their respective countries. No matter, if the country is big or small, or if it is receiving or sending migrants, all nine countries are working together on addressing similar challenges related to regional and local issues and participate actively in constant knowledge sharing on migration policy.

The first of these workshops on "Migration and Development: A Success Strategy" delivered on November 17-18 in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) brought together more than 60 attendees—high-ranking officials from ministries and agencies, as well as representatives of regional and district-level local governments. The workshop participants produced and presented several improvement recommendations regarding the migration management coordination by the Republic of Tajikistan Government, to be later considered and implemented by respective Tajikistan Government agencies.

Workshops were also held on "The Role of Labor Migration in the Country’s Development" in Kiev, Ukraine (November 28-29). The events were attended by representatives of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, State Migration Service of Ukraine, Supreme Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine, international organizations, NGOs, think-tanks, and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. These events have led to a program of activities designed towards developing a strategic approach to migration in Ukraine, taking into account CIS and EU regional context and relationships.

A one-day workshop in Bishkek (November 29) served as a venue for an open discussion on the importance of labor migration for the Kyrgyz Republic, including further enhancement of institutional capacity of the executive branch, remittances vs. development, social protection, and education for labor migrants.

Tackling Migration from the Top: MiRPAL High Level Meetings in the CIS RegionOn December 8, in Moscow, Russia, international experts Thomas Achacoso and Luca Barbone shared their evaluations with Russia migration leadership on successful migration management practices employed in the Philippines and approaches to migration used in the European Union, respectively. The MiRPAL Program Coordinator Sudharshan Canagarajah presented the results of the "Economic Growth and Sufficiency of Labor Resources in Russia" study prepared by the World Bank, while representatives of the International Migration Organization (IMO) and UNIFEM discussed their collaborative work with World Bank under the CARMP (Central Asia Regional Migration Program) sponsored by DfID (UK).

Finally, on December 9, the World Bank met in Almaty with experts from the Eurasian Development Bank to discuss the implications of global economic developments for the CIS, and particularly its impact on migration issues, especially in the context of the common economic zone, which comes into effect on January 1, 2012, in select CIS countries.

The World Bank is committed to continuing to serve as a "Knowledge Bank" for the countries to help enhance capacity and competence of national governments in further developing their migration policies. The challenge for CIS countries is to manage migration in a dynamic economic, social, and political context, which should not be underestimated.

MiRPAL is organizing a half-day workshop on Thursday January 19, 2012 to discuss post global crisis developments in migration and remittances in ECA region and discuss the outlook for 2012 (see announcement » ).

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