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Discussion space: Migration 4.0 - Digitalization & New Technologies

Discussion questions

Submitted by Jasper Tjaden - 3 November 2020

Benefits of forecasting models

On 5 November 2020, IOM GMDAC is facilitating an EU-level workshop on the 'benefits of migration forecasting tools' as part of the German EU-Council presidency's #migration4.0 series on digitalization and migration management. 

Key questions that are discussed include: 

  1. What are the main benefits of forecasting tools in your country?
  2. What are the main challenges of existing forecasting systems/tools in your country?

The discussion continues here. Please 'Reply' to this message to post your comments, questions, opinions or raise new questions.

Kind regards,
(Data & Impact Analytics Coordinator)

Submitted by Britta Behrendt - 16 December 2020

On the 10th of december the final session of Migration 4.0 under the german presidency took place virtually. We are happy and proud that we were able to create and shape this virtual discussion with a series of events and partners like IOM, EASO, Frontex, European Commission, Seafar, OECD and ICMPD. At the end of the session we handed over the Migration4.0 process to the incoming portuguese presidency. The recording of the session will be made available soon here. You can find it at "events". 

Take care, stay save and happy holidays to all of you!


Submitted by Marco Fontana - 5 November 2020

All new activities with potential benefits come with challenges and sometimes they are seen suspiciously. Considering that forecasting is not aimed at knowing the future, but in being aware that the future might set aside different stories than those we expect or we fear, the main benefits will be a more informed strategic/operational planning and less chance to last-minute adjustments. Challenges are at different levels, organizational, communication, capability and not less importantly, accountability. To overcome that, openminded and keen professionals are needed at all those levels to pave the way and make forecasting a common tool rather than a black box to be wary of.   

Submitted by Moderator - 22 July 2020

Migration forecasting models

Policymakers are turning to innovative data sources and forecasting to model migration patterns. Do you think it is better to have forecasting models with limited accuracy or no forecast at all?

Submitted by Jakub Bijak - 14 September 2020

One key consideration here is to be aware of the limitations of the data and forecasting methods or models. Different approaches to prediction will have different accuracy in various contexts and time horizons, and the same holds for data: for example, digital traces bear promise for early warnings and nowcasting, but will be less useful in longer horizons.

It is crucial to acknowledge that no model - or indeed no data source - can ever be perfect, but if both the forecasters and forecast users acknowledge the limits of prediction, then even imperfect approaches can offer useful insights for operational or contingency planning, or for strategic policy decisions.

Submitted by Janina Stürner - 10 September 2020

Even with limited data, forecasting can show broad trends in migration movements and serve as a basis and orientation for scenario building to model different responses. What is essential is to include not just traditional actors of migration and displacement governance such as states and international organisations and their data and perspectives into forecasting and scenario building. These processes need also to be opened to local authorities and migrant- and refugee-led organisations from all over the world, with accessible support for defining and generating the necessary data and for participating in forecasting and scenario building processes.

Submitted by Jasper Tjaden - 22 July 2020

I think you have to start somewhere. If we do not try, forecasts will never improve. In the grand scheme of things, we are still in the beginning of the process. Data needs to improve and then models will improve. In the meantime, it is important that policy-makers understand the limitations and the uncertainty involved. 

Submitted by Rhea Ravenna Sohst - 22 July 2020

I think the question comes down to what the forecast is meant to be used for? A short-term forecast that is supporting operational planning (e.g. the reception of newly arriving migrants in a specific area) needs to be much more precise than a long-term forecast that has more of a strategic focus. 

Submitted by Moderator - 22 July 2020

Role of digitalization in safe, orderly and regular migration

The fourth industrial revolution -- also known as 4IR or Industry 4.0 -- has implications for international migration as well. How does digitalization help or challenge your work on migration and the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM)?

Submitted by Welella Negussie - 22 July 2020

Digitalization can support and facilitate the implementation of the GCM greatly. For instance, through the Virtual Counselling project, migrants living in Germany can receive voluntary return and reintegration counselling via online communications tools, from several countries of origin. This digital service for migrants can improve pre-departure counselling and the sustainable reintegration of migrants if they decide to return. This project addresses GCM's Objective 21 "Cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission as well as sustainable reintegration".





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