Preparedness for the Next Pandemic: Towards a Resilient Global Architecture on Borders and Health
António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration
Zsuzsanna Jakab, Deputy Director-General, World Health Organization
Blas Nuñez-Neto, Acting Assistant Secretary, Border and Immigration Policy, Department of Homeland Security, United States
Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos, Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning, National Economic and Development Authority, Philippines
Justine Saunders, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Department of Home Affairs, Australia
Lucas Gómez, Head of the Office for the Attention and Socioeconomic Integration of Migrants, Colombia
Charles Munyao, Secretary, National Coordination Mechanisms on Migration, Kenya
Justin Maeda, Principal Regional Collaborating Centres Coordinator, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
Laurel Townhead, Representative (Human Rights & Refugees), Quaker United Nations Office
Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute
Two years after COVID-19 halted cross-border mobility in its tracks, most countries are seeking to fully restart migration and mobility. Sweeping border closures and travel bans have largely been phased out in favor of more targeted approaches, and many governments, travel operators, and ports of entry are lifting or loosening health-related restrictions. Yet the process of reopening has been highly uneven, unequal, and uncoordinated. Even now, inconsistent standards for testing and vaccination, as well as incompatible health credentialing systems, continue to confuse and burden travelers. Moreover, widespread inequalities in vaccine access and take-up are hindering efforts to outpace the virus as it mutates, and exacerbating inequities in who can move.
The International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) poses a timely opportunity to revisit the lessons of COVID-19, before the next variant arrives, including what costs and inequalities emerged in the pandemic era and what systems are needed to prepare for the next outbreak. Perhaps most importantly, the time is ripe to move towards a global agreement on mobility-a more resilient architecture for borders and health. With the World Health Organization (WHO) efforts to negotiate a new pandemic treaty and revise the International Health Regulations, leadership is needed to put mobility on the agenda and build global consensus on mobility management in times of pandemics. This IMRF side event, featuring the Director General of the International Organization for Migration, WHO Deputy Director General, and key national government stakeholders among others, seeks to foster greater international coordination over health and mobility and promote a set of principles that are clear, equitable, streamlined, and future-focused.