(New York, October 3, 2013)
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio, President of the ECOSOC at the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honor to address the Second High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development today. As my distinguished colleagues have already pointed out, migration is a powerful tool for development. International migration should be seen as an essential driver for global development, given its important contribution for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and its impact as a key factor for sustainable development, which should be adequately considered in the post-2015 development agenda.
There is a clear need to better articulate and enhance the linkages between migration and development and to promote a human-rights based approach, in order to achieve the fullest potential that migration can give to development.
Ladies and Gentlemen
There is no doubt that migration has the power to transform the lives of individuals and their families, as well as shape societies in countries of origin and of destination. When governed by right-based policies, international migration can be an empowering experience, with development benefits for migrants, their families and their communities. In fact, migration could contribute to human and community development, through the accumulation of human capital, increased access by migrant's household to social services and increased participation of women in productive employment, among others.
Every year billions of dollars are sent in remittances. In 2012 alone, migrant families in developing countries received over 400 billion US dollars in remittances, which have proven to be a resilient resource of private financial flow, improving the lives and well-being of tens of millions of families worldwide.
The impact of transnational communities is also increasing. Diaspora groups contribute to strengthening economic and social ties between countries through their labour, skills, knowledge, ideas and values, facilitating trade and the transfer of technologies, and channelling foreign direct investment.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The General Assembly's First High level Dialogue recognised migration as an intrinsic part of global development. As a result, the Global Forum on Migration and Development has been created, as a common platform to share information, good practices and promote national, bilateral and regional cooperation. Since the first High-level Dialogue in 2006, we have come a long way. The fact that Member States have been able to agree on a joint declaration as an outcome document of this Second High Level Dialogue shows the incredible progress made.
It's time to act more systematically and responsibly in countries of origin, transit and destination, to put in place an action oriented agenda aimed at creating a safer and more transparent system of international mobility that protects the human rights of all migrants, enhances the positive contribution of migrants and migration to development, fosters cohesive multicultural environments and presents migrants as vital members of our societies.
The Secretary-General report has proposed a concrete set of actions. These include:
• Protecting the human rights of all migrants
• Reducing the costs related to migration
• Combating migrant exploitation including the trafficking in persons
• Improving the public perception of migrants
• Mainstreaming migration into the post-2015 Development Agenda
• Strengthening and promoting dialogue, cooperation and partnerships on migration issues
The overall objective of this event is to identify concrete measures to enhance the benefits and address the challenges of international migration for development.
The United Nations should play a key role in the follow up to this High-level Dialogue, through a coherent, comprehensive and coordinated approach. Given that ECOSOC is currently undergoing an important review of its functions and mandates, we should also consider how the Economic and Social Council can play a robust role in addressing the complex interrelationship between migration and development.
The Global Migration Group (GMG), a group that comprises 15 agencies of the United Nations system and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), should continue to play a key role and assess the progress in the field of migration and development.
The rethinking of the post-2015 Development Agenda offers an important opportunity to push for progress on these critical issues. This Second High-level Dialogue is an important occasion to further reinforce the need to integrate human mobility in this future development agenda.
Ladies and Gentlemen
We all know that migration can be a triple win. Countries of destination can benefit because migrants fill labour market shortages and skills gaps. Countries of origin can benefit through financial and cultural transfers, while migrants can benefit both economically and socially.
Yet, migration also has costs. When migration is pursued in a haphazard, uncoordinated manner these costs are accentuated.
More should be done to reduce the cost of remittance transfers. Improving the regulatory framework for financial services and increasing the transfer services through public –private partnership would be important steps on this regard.
Migrant workers, irrespective of their migration status, should be protected from abuse and exploitation. In this regard, improving access to social protection and facilitating the recognition of diplomas and qualifications are key elements. Comprehensive efforts and broader international cooperation against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants should be pursued and programmes to assist and prevent these exploitations and other abuses should be reinforced. Also, more should be done to combat and counteract discrimination and xenophobia and related acts of intolerance against migrants.
We also need to remember that migrants, particularly women and children, remain a particularly vulnerable group.
This High Level Dialogue gives us an important opportunity to renew our commitment to action on a range of practical issues, with a view to enhancing the development benefits of international migration for migrants and countries alike while addressing its related challenges. Ultimately, I believe that we will all need to work together on an effective and global agenda, promoting and strengthening existing institutions and frameworks and improving human-rights based governance of migration at all levels. Only by cooperating with all of the various stakeholders can we ensure that migration works effectively for development.