Since autumn of 2015, when more than a million refugees and migrants converged on European shores, histrionics have subsided. The pace of migration to Europe has slowed to just over 260,000 in 2017. The issue remains high on the public’s list of concern. And it should be. The drivers of displacement are still strong. Three of the most powerful underlying causes of migration are violence, population growth, and climate change. These forces will remain strong in coming decades. Efforts to address these forces have been inadequate due to structural flaws in international institutions.
Faced with this impending tragedy, there are clear policy options available to international actors: we need sustained investment and long-term political/diplomatic engagement. To both reduce the volume flows and to simultaneously care for those who flee, we need massive investment in fragile states and new critical thinking about solutions. In short, we need a PEPFAR (US President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief) or Marshall Plan for fragile states.