The Valletta Summit has just ended. What are the outcomes? Is anything going to change? Many people tended to be very sceptical on this summit and that the results will be rather vague or that no concrete conclusions will be drawn.
Overall, however, we think that this summit was not as bad as one might think. Some key issues have been tackled and moreover, one cannot argue that no awareness has been raised. Probably the most decent outcome of the entire summit was the so-called EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. This intends to foster stability and contribute to better migration management.
However, despite some good conclusions which were established during the Valletta Summit, there are some key issues which were omitted or just mentioned in brief and that are rather vague. A good example is that the summits’ main focus was on the economic counterpart. While this plays a crucial role, one must not forget that other aspects such as the socio-cultural and environmental aspects are also vital. Although many of these were in fact mentioned, however, they were not really tackled as primary issues.
Let us first understand the main causes of migration. Many immigrants we receive either flee their home-country due to civil unrest such as political/religious persecution or are forced to leave due to disastrous economic crisis. Another issue, which although has been mentioned in brief during the summit, but lacks specific detail is that of climate migrants, that is people having to leave their homes due to the severe consequences of climate change.
The first aspect we must mention here is the economic counterpart. Although the establishment of the EU Emergency Trust Fund is good overall, one must keep in mind that this is not an entirely new idea. Several economists and green politicians have been demanding more investment in Africa by Europe for many years. This is something which should have been done years ago. Investing in Africa is crucial since a potential number of migrants are so called ‘economic migrants’. What we find bizarre is that the European continent has been exploiting Africa for centuries and only now realises the need to properly invest in this continent. Therefore, although on one hand we welcome this decision, we believe that this should have been established a long time ago.
The second issue we want to discuss here is the socio-political aspect in relation to the big corporations. Something which has been totally omitted in this summit was the way big corporations treat Africans and the environment. Most of us are unaware of the harm mineral companies, food chain corporations, fishing companies, chocolate industries and many other firms are causing in substantial parts of Africa. They pollute rivers, land and air. They destroy habitats, make use of child labour and exploit people as much as only possible. They over-exploit resources such as the fishing industry or make use of lobbying and breach international agreements. Some corporations are also directly responsible for civil unrest by directly exporting weapons to areas of conflict.
Finally we can’t not mention the influence of climate change. Considering that this effect will probably be one of the main causes, if not the main cause of mass movement in the near future, we urge all European nations to take a serious stand on climate action, especially in the coming COP21 meeting in Paris next month.
For such reasons we think that although the Valletta Summit has drawn some important conclusions, other priority issues were simply not mentioned. If we really want to tackle the issue of migration we must also consider the above-mentioned issues and collaborate together in order to find long-term solutions to these problems.
Moreover, we would also like to state that the issue of migration cannot just be tackled by the European and African continent, but this issue is a global one and must be tackled by all nations on the globe since almost all nations on earth contribute to issues such as climate change and civil unrest. Unless we establish a global summit to eradicate poverty, seriously tackle climate change and stop injustice and the related human rights abuses we will never manage to tackle the overwhelming issue of migration. It’s time to stop thinking of inefficient short-term solutions and move on to long-term solutions. Only if the pillars of sustainability, that is the economic, social, cultural and environmental components are equally weighted and respected will we be able to successfully tackle the issue of migration.
Pascal Aloisio – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Publications Officer