The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted migration and mobility around the globe, and by extension the way how we think and speak about migration. In this time of crisis, trust and public security have become primary concerns and spiralled the increasingly polarised rhetoric around migration we have seen emerging in recent years. This recent trend exacerbates the need for a balanced narrative on migration as a necessary pre-condition to safeguard an enabling environment for sound migration policy making and governance.
Promoting a deeper awareness and understanding of perceptions of and attitudes towards migration is imperative to move scientific evidence back to the core of the migration discourse, which in turn will help rebalance the narrative and consequently regain the public’s trust. This is particularly vital in the Euro-Mediterranean context, where migration can be considered part and parcel of the economic recovery if implemented in a conscientious and diligent way and on the basis of sound, effective migration policies. The third chapter of ICMPD’s “Impact of public attitudes to migration on the political environment in the Euro-Mediterranean region” makes a marked contribution to this critical matter by shedding light on different strategies and approaches to public communication on migration and how these can be rendered effective. Drafted before the outbreak of the current pandemic, the study’s recommendations ring even more true today where efforts to do away with the widespread disinformation, which was exacerbated by the pandemic, must be intensified.
Now more than ever, we need to provide policy-makers with evidence-based, responsive policy options to affront disinformation and ill-informed public perceptions of migration – a major challenge in the Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond.