Forced migration is disproportionately a developing world challenge, but the implications and impact of forced migration are already being felt globally. The challenges and implications of forced migration are outlined in Annex A of this report and are explored in greater detail in a May 2018 CSIS report: Confronting the Global Forced Migration Crisis.

As a follow-on to this work, the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development, led by Senior Vice President Daniel Runde, convened a roundtable of experts on February 27, 2019 to address the following research questions:

  • What factors impede the development of political consensus on forced migration among states in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations?
  • What regional differences exist that make international collaboration on updating legal frameworks difficult?
  • Are there hubs of innovation or problem-solving on forced migration that we can look to for ideas and new approaches?

This report serves as a backgrounder and reflects the broad themes that emerged from that expert roundtable and subsequent desk research and interviews.

Global forced migration has important security, environmental, economic, political, and human rights implications that could lead to future global instability. Future trends in forced migration show increasing and deepening issues with significant global consequences. Levels of global forced migration show few signs of decreasing, with crises in places such as Venezuela, Myanmar, and South Sudan driving more people from home and making return all the more difficult. This report discusses how indicators of global instability can be used as proxies to anticipate future forced migration scenarios and the ensuing global consequences. Responding to current forced migration-related challenges and anticipating new ones will require considering the right indicators and trends and pursuing significant collaboration at the international level.


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