House of Sweden, Washington, DC
A Critical Juncture for Migration and Development: Swedish Leadership at a Turning Point for International Cooperation
Tobias Billström, Swedish Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy
Jim Kolbe, Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States and former member, U.S. House of Representatives
Suzanne Sheldon, Director of the Office of Population and International Migration, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
Lynn Shotwell, Executive Director, American Council on International Personnel
Kathleen Newland, MPI Director, Migration and Development Program
Sweden has long been a leader in global cooperation on migration and development. In 2013, it assumed the chairmanship of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) for an unprecedented 18-month term. This period, from January 2013 through June 2014 encompasses a critical period for international cooperation on these vital issues. It coincides with the preparation of the new development agenda that will guide global development efforts following the 2015 target date of the current Millennium Development Goals–an agenda that Sweden has determined must recognize the crucial role of migration as an important means for achieving development goals. The period will also see the second UN High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, the 20-year follow-up to the UN Conference on Population and Development, and a battery of preparatory meetings and reports that are bringing a new intensity to policy debate.
Displaying the kind of “policy coherence” that is often called for but rarely seen, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, and the Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, Tobias Billström, are implementing an ambitious program to promote global cooperation to strengthen the development impact of migration, both by bringing development more sharply into focus at the GFMD, and by pursuing concrete outcomes from the events leading up to it and to the post-2015 development agenda.
This discussion with Minister Billström focused on Sweden's priorities in its leadership role in the global debate on migration and development, and how these reflect its national policy for global development.