On February 21-22, 2017, the VI International Forum on Migration and Peace was held in Rome, with the theme “Integration and Development: From Reaction to Action.” The Forum was jointly organized by the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Previous editions of the forum took place in Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, and Germany. This year, in Rome, the Forum paid particular attention to the European migration crisis, with focus on both the refugees’ crisis management and the link between development and migration. These were two days of work with different sessions to go deeply into the topic and to find the best practices in Europe and America.
The overall purpose of the International Forum was to stimulate a high-level dialogue on the root causes of migration and to elaborate and propose the best solutions for an ethical approach on the international management of migration as well as the integration of migrants in hosting communities.
The Forum brings together senior officers of international organizations, academia, political representatives, members of civil society organizations working on migration issues and with associations of migrants and representatives of the Catholic Church from all continents.
During the audience that opened the two day Forum, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, demanded more solidarity with refugees and migrants. “I feel the need to express particular concern for the forced migratory movements, which increases the challenge presented to the political community, to civil society and to the Church, and which amplifies the urgency for a coordinated and effective response to these challenges. Our share response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”, Pope Francis stated.
More than 65 million people worldwide are currently in need of international protection – many more are seeking a way to improve their life through migration. Last September the United Nations launched a process that aims at finding new mechanisms of solidarity with refugees and their hosting countries as well as better forms of regulating migration and supporting migrants.
“Scalabrinians have been working with migrants and refugees for 130 years. The time we are living presents serious concerns about migration issues. The aim of this Forum is to create a synergic approach in order to find a common and sustainable answer, showing and sharing good policies and practices present in the society,” affirmed Fr. Leonir Chiarello, executive director of SIMN.
Documents and videos of the forum, including the address of Pope Francis, are available online at forummigrationandpeace.org.