According to UNICEF, the world population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2025. In less than a decade, the sustainability of the next billion will be a task for the current generation of youth to address. While middle-high income countries are experiencing low fertility rates, aging populations, and a declining workforce capable of supporting the growing dependency load, low-middle income countries are continuing to experience high fertility rates (though it is now just entering decline), and a significant youth population which is comparatively larger than the other age groups. Countries are opting to either maintain or raise their capacity for immigrants to address aging populations, a trend that is increasing all across the board. As this is the case, labour migration is projected to continue as a major response to these demographic trends.
Aside from labour migration, anthropogenic climate change continues to introduce new risks, exacerbating previously existing vulnerabilities which has led to an increase in refugees. More frequent and severe hurricanes, flooding, and desertification are rendering settlements uninhabitable. People will be seeking refuge and a chance for a new life elsewhere, as displaced migrants entering transitionary states lacking foundation and support.
Need for safe, regular, and orderly migration:
According to research conducted by the Overseas Development Institute, migrants are subject to specific vulnerabilities, broadly divided into two categories: migration-specific vulnerabilities, which are disadvantages experienced by migrants only, and migration-intensified vulnerabilities, which are existing disadvantages that are worsened because of migration. An example of a migration-specific vulnerability includes female migrants working in less visible and less regulated sectors, at greater risk for exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. An example of a migration-intensified vulnerability includes lack of access to modern energy services, health care, education, water, and sanitation.
Migration has become commonplace in our increasingly connected world.
It’s imperative that a functional, reliable, evolving precedent of international cooperation and shared responsibility be set.
We must begin addressing development goals that will sustain the next billion people that will be sharing the planet with us in the next decade. There is a direct link between migration and the sustainable development goals outlined in Agenda 2030. Issues of gender, health, climate change, urbanization, social protection, education, poverty, citizenship, water, energy, technology, decent work--these critical areas of sustainable development are made recognizable and measurable through migrants.