China, EU join forces to manage migration

2008-03-20 20:02:46  China Daily      

Brunson McKinley (center), director-general of the International Organization for Migration, talks with Shen Yongxiang (left), deputy director of the department of international organizations and conferences under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday in Beijing. [China Daily]

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) yesterday launched a project in Beijing to improve China's migration management.

The yearlong project intends to promote cooperation on migration between China and the European Union (EU) through the exchange of expertise, information and personnel, according to IOM director-general Brunson McKinley.

It will also enhance understanding between the respective migration management systems of China and EU member states, he said. The budget for the project is euros 2.5 million ($3.86 million), principally funded by the EU.

Although China is not a member of the Switzerland-based organization, IOM takes a progressive approach to sharing its experience with China on various issues, including counter-trafficking and labor migration, McKinley said.

"It's a milestone event in the IOM and China relationship," he said, adding the project will continue, based on mutual understanding, by promoting an innovative "win-win" situation for all parties involved.

He said China is facing the complex challenge of trying to maximize the benefits of its considerable rural to urban migration, while dealing with record numbers of nationals heading overseas and increasing numbers of foreigners coming to China for study, work and travel.

Managed overall by IOM, with the International Labour Organization as an implementing project partner, the activities will be carried out in partnership with several Chinese ministries.

"We would like to implement wider and deeper cooperation with IOM on the basis of equality and mutual benefit," said Shen Yongxiang, deputy director of the department of international organizations and conferences under the Foreign Ministry, adding the project marks a new stage of development between the two sides.

Given the complexity and duration of the project, Shen said the parties should "be patient and careful to move forward step-by-step" and make adjustments accordingly.