|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
11th Meeting (AM)
Speakers Discuss Benefits, Pitfalls of Migration as Second Committee
Considers ‘Globalization and Interdependence’
Delegations Voice Support for 2013 General Assembly High-level Dialogue
While the international community had been “extremely generous” in addressing the many humanitarian crises with consequences for migrants in recent years, more could be done to improve its responses, the representative of the United States said today, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up its agenda item on globalization and interdependence.
Citing the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the violence in Libya during 2011, and the current conflict in Syria, among others, she said her country provided help to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other actors in responding to the plight of “stranded migrants” during crisis.
Describing immigration as central to her country’s very identity, she said the migration phenomenon of recent years was a “timely and critical theme” in international relations. Immigration was critical to economic growth and development, and it would be “difficult to conceive what the United States would be like today” without the contributions of millions of people who had immigrated there. Regarding the General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, to be held in 2013, she expressed hope that it would focus on critical substantive issues and not get bogged down on questions of institutionalized mandates.
Sri Lanka’s representative recalled that during his country’s long war against terrorism, significant numbers of asylum-seekers had migrated to various Western countries. However, those movements had neither been effectively recorded nor captured in border statistics. Following the peace agreement of 2009, economic, political and social improvements had resulted in fewer citizens migrating beyond their country’s borders, he said, noting that security in Sri Lanka had often been cited as their reason for seeking illegal entry into Western countries.
In addition to escaping conflict, many speakers cited causes behind migration, including poverty, religious persecution, climate change, and natural disasters. Some stressed the importance of protecting the most vulnerable migrants, including women, adolescents and children. In particular, they called on the international community to combat human trafficking. Although millions of people were displaced by life-altering events such as disasters and conflict, many migrants left their respective countries in search of more opportunities and better lives, especially amid the prevailing multiple global crises. That was a cause of worry for developing and least developing countries as many of their graduates were living abroad, contributing to a “brain drain”.
Haiti’s representative cited the existence of a worldwide diaspora from her country, saying it was important to address the nation’s loss of human capital following the migration of its citizens. It was also imperative to attack the deeper reasons for migration, which created imbalances entailing poverty, climate change, conflict and disasters. Haitians were studying ways to invest in their diaspora community so as to optimize their savings for the country’s benefit, she said.
Echoing that sentiment, India’s representative described migration as “the oldest poverty alleviation tool”, and asked the developed world to accept and act on the fact that it had gained great benefits from migration from the global South. However, many delegates said that in the present interdependent world, and the era of ever-increasing interconnectedness, the migration trend was not just North-South, but also North-North and South-South.
“Widening and persistent inequalities” between developed and developing countries were caused by globalization, Saint Lucia’s representative said on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). While realizing that globalization had the potential to spread prosperity and growth, it was an “equally adept conduit” for exporting and exacerbating a “multiplicity of crises”, with small and poor States particularly vulnerable. She called for a “fair and equitable global trading regime”, expressing particular concern about the effects of trade-distorting subsidies given to multinational rum companies, which created a “blatant disadvantage” for Caribbean distillers and an unequal playing field.
On the other hand, Singapore’s representative said his country relied heavily on external trade, and was ranked third in the world by Ernst & Young’s Globalization Index for 2011. It had earned a perfect score of 10 in terms of openness to trade. Benefiting from its close economic integration with the rest of the world, Singapore had ridden the wave of globalization, and its total external trade had grown by more than 120 per cent over the past decade, while its gross domestic product (GDP) had expanded in tandem to reach 83 per cent in real terms over the same period. However, globalization did have its down side, he said, recalling that his country’s openness had left it particularly vulnerable to the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009, which had caused a sharp recession.
The Committee also heard from the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, who presented a number of reports for the Committee’s consideration.
Others speaking today were representatives of Algeria (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Indonesia (for the Association of South-East Asian Nations), Russian Federation, Senegal, Switzerland, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Brazil, Austria, Jordan, Nigeria, Iran, Mexico, Malawi, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the European Union delegation.
Also delivering statements were the Permanent Observer for the Holy See and officials of the International Organization for Migration and the International Labour Organization.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 22 October, to take up financing for development.
As the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take up its agenda item on globalization and interdependence, members had before them several reports of the Secretary-General on the subject.
Before the Committee was the report of the Secretary General International challenges for sustainable development: global policy coherence and the role of the United Nations (document A/67/274). Dated 9 August 2012, it reviews recent trends in the areas of trade, financial flows and international migration to illustrate the growing interdependence in the world economy.
The report argues that persistent imbalances in international trade, technology transfer and international finance require urgent policy attention if the goals of equitable and inclusive economic growth and sustainable development are to be achieved in the coming decades. The lack of agreement on concluding the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations remains the largest obstacle to improving access to international markets for developing countries, the report says, calling also for improved facilitation of technology transfer to provide those countries with affordable access to new technologies in support of sustainable strategies.
According to the report, the multiple global financial and economic crises have emphasized the need for public oversight of the financial system and greater cooperation in strengthening global financial safety nets to provide adequate international liquidity to cope with shocks. The report concludes that reforms are needed to achieve a global economic order that contributes to balanced development and effectively manages global interdependence. Technology transfer is a priority, it stresses, adding that a more development-friendly international technological regime could help combat climate change.
The report concludes that the international financial regime must provide space for domestic policymakers to implement capital account regulations and countercyclical risk-management measures. Gaps in the global institutional governance landscape must be closed, particularly in the areas of environmental governance and international migration, it states, adding that strengthening the Economic and Social Council would help increase consistency in specialized areas in order to address global challenges in an increasingly interdependent world.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary General’s report International migration and development (document A/67/254) dated 3 August 2012, which contains organizational details of the 2013 High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. Section I includes recent data on migratory patterns by origin and destination. The information allows for an assessment of the scope of international migration from developing countries, providing a critical underpinning to the debate on international migration and development.
Section II describes recent levels of remittance transfers, including evidence of their cost, and highlights recent activities to safeguard the rights of migrants and combat irregular migration. It also synthesizes recent efforts of the United Nations system to enhance partnerships, coordination and cooperation, including through the Coordination Meeting on International Migration and the Global Migration Group. Section III contains proposals for organizing the High-Level Dialogue, a suggested structure and format for the event and possible themes, preparatory activities and outcomes.
The report concludes with a set of concrete recommendations on enhancing the benefits of migration and reducing its negative impacts on development. It also recounts the steps being taken in preparation for the High-Level Dialogue, which is seen as a crucial step in guiding global migration policy, making concrete proposals on how to make migration work for development, and ensuring that the issue of international migration is brought into the post-2015 development debate. The report also recommends that the international community prioritize the dissemination of migration data from the 2010 census round, facilitate access to data generated by administrative records, and consider funding a dedicated survey programme in countries lacking adequate data.
Also before the Committee was a letter dated 7 March 2012 (document A/67/73) from the Permanent Representative of Switzerland and addressed to the Secretary-General. Annexed to it is the report Fifth meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development: “Taking Acting on Migration and Development — Coherence, Capacity and Cooperation”, Geneva, Switzerland, 1 and 2 December 2011, which recalls that over the past five years, the Forum has sought to contribute to greater policy coherence on migration and development at the national, regional and global levels.
The report says that the Forum has strengthened the capacity of States to more effectively address migration and development opportunities and challenges, while promoting international cooperation and partnerships among and between States as well as other actors. The report concludes that the debate on irregular migration and development is particularly timely, as it allows a deepening of the dialogue among origin, transit and destination countries relating to such critical questions as migrants rights and protection, law enforcement and inter-State cooperation, and partnerships in the context of development.
Introduction of Reports
SHAMSHAD AKHTAR, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the international challenges to sustainable development, saying that even though many developing countries had gained from expanding trade and finance, the overall outcomes were less than desirable. Globalization remained unbalanced and international income inequality had increased further. The food, fuel and financial crises had been felt globally, she said, describing them as a manifestation of growing globalization and the degree of interdependence.
Briefly highlighting a few challenges and some of the report’s recommendations, she said that while some developing countries - most notably China and others in East Asia – had benefited from their gradual exposure to world markets, the more recent emphasis on non-discrimination in the global trade regime had narrowed the policy space for developing countries to conduct their own policies. In that regard, the report recommended that the multilateral trade regime provide those countries with greater market access, and more space to use efficient, well-designed subsidies and other mechanisms in support of export industries. Technology was a critical input, and reforms were needed to facilitate its transfer, particularly to allow developing countries to incorporate green technological development into their national development strategies.
Introducing the report on migration, she pointed out that out of 214 million international migrants in the world today some 150 had originated from the global South. It was important to acknowledge the development impact of migration, in particular the doubling of the number of migrants moving from South to North over the past 20 years. Migration flows triggered remittance returns and circular migration, high-skilled emigration and diaspora investments, she said. According to the World Bank, remittances had risen by 12 per cent in 2011 to $370 billion, but the costs of transferring them remained high due to a lack of competition and limited transparency.
Protection of migrant workers was another area of concern, she said, adding that only 68 million migrants, or one third of the global total, lived in countries that had signed at least one of three conventions on the protection of migrant workers and their families. The recent adoption of the new ILO Convention on domestic workers gave hope that key challenges facing them could be addressed. Human trafficking and migrant smuggling remained a challenge, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was leading worldwide efforts to combat those crimes, she said.
She went on to say that the Global Migration Group on coherence was currently assessing how it could better support Member States in addressing migration challenges and opportunities. The report proposed some ideas for the High-Level Dialogue to consider as a basis for deliberation and drafting a resolution. They included how best to leverage diaspora contributions for development, and how to promote legal and orderly migration, while protecting migrants rights.
MOURAD BENHEMIDI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, reaffirmed the need for a new economic order based on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest, cooperation and solidarity among States. The 1974 Declaration and related Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order were more important now than ever, given the current volatile global economic and financial situation, he emphasized. Acknowledging that globalisation could strengthen growth and development, he pointed out that it also presented many risks and challenges, especially to developing countries.
International cooperation was needed to reverse their marginalization, manage the risks, overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by globalization. The United Nations was well-placed to enhance their voice and participation in international decision-making and to take the lead in reforming the Bretton Woods institutions based on the involvement of all their stakeholders and an approach better reflecting their development mandates. He confirmed the importance of international trade but noted that only a universal, rules based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system, as well as trade liberalisation, could truly stimulate growth.
He urged the international community to address the challenges arising from international migration on the basis of common understanding and genuine partnership, in order to ensure that international migration contributed to the development of origin, transit and destination countries while minimizing the negative impacts. Official development assistance (ODA) and other sources of international finance were needed to support efforts by developing countries to eradicate poverty and promote development as a key instrument for controlling migration flows, he said, adding that the Group of 77 looked forward to the High-Level Dialogue as a crucial step towards guiding the global migration policy agenda.
MENISSA RAMBALLY (Saint Lucia), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77, said the truth and urgency of the Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order remained as globalization caused “widening and persistent inequalities” between developed and developing countries. While not disputing globalization’s potential for spreading prosperity and growth, it was an “equally adept conduit for the exportation and exacerbation of a multiplicity of crises”, with small and poor State particularly vulnerable, she said.
Pointing out that CARICOM members felt the impacts of the multiple global crises particularly keenly due to their particular characteristics, she called on the United Nations to ensure the even and effective application of rules, notably by playing a leading role in reforming the Bretton Woods institutions and by crafting a legally-binding solution to climate change. She warned that CARICOM would see a decline in trade linked to their relationships with developed markets, and called for a “fair and equitable global trading regime”, expressing particular concern about the effects of trade-distorting subsidies given to multinational rum companies, which created a “blatant disadvantage” for Caribbean distillers and an unequal playing field.
Noting that more people were living “outside their country of origin than at any time in history”, according to the report, she said CARICOM countries knew well the complexity of international migration, not least because their nations were populated mainly by descendants of migrants, both forced and voluntary. Their economies were greatly influenced by inward and outward flows of migrants, including a powerful regional “brain drain” of college graduates living abroad, she said, recalling that the region had worked to establish the right of free movement of people through the Grande Anse Declaration. The United Nations played a central role in promoting greater cooperation and ensuring the rights of migrants, she said, welcoming the upcoming High-Level Dialogue.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the central role of the United Nations in global policy governance needed strengthening. Widespread reforms were needed, and despite the great associated challenge, it was an agenda in which developing and least developed countries had much at stake. He called specifically for revitalization of the Doha Development Agenda to address the unhealthy competition among developing countries.
Revitalizing the Doha Round could also provide better mechanisms to ensure effective technology transfer and greater public oversight over powerful private organizations, he continued. Current international policy, including liberalization, catered to powerful interests at the expense of developing countries, he said. Regional cooperation had been more effective, he said, citing the ASEAN Free Trade Area, the Roadmap for Monetary and Financial Integration of ASEAN and currency cooperation, among other initiatives.
Noting that the world’s total “migration stock” had risen to 214.2 million people between 1990 and 2010, representing a 38 per cent increase, he said the ASEAN Labour Ministers Work Programme provided the framework for preparing the region’s labour force to face the challenges of globalization and liberalization. The ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers was a ground-breaking measure aimed at addressing the issue, he added. ASEAN supported the Global Forum on Migration and Development, and the 2013 High-Level Dialogue, he said, while describing Chapter 10 of the Programme of Action from the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development as the most comprehensive internationally agreed text on international migration.
BEVIGLIA ZAMPETTI, European Union delegation, said he looked forward to the second High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development as an opportunity to update and deepen the global discussion on that subject. It would build on the achievements of the first Dialogue, which had led to the creation of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. The European Union recognized the links between migration and development in its Global Approach to Migration and Mobility and in its policy framework “Agenda for Change”, he said. Describing the latter as a broad and truly comprehensive policy, he said he looked forward to sharing, at the High-Level Dialogue, insights from that policy and from the bloc’s broad experience in bilateral and regional cooperation on migration.
Calling for a more ambitious and holistic approach to migration, he outlined two main objectives for the Dialogue to target: broadening the current development and migration agenda by recognizing changing migration patterns; and giving further consideration to the promotion of migration in development strategies. He went on to say that those objectives could be achieved if the Dialogue’s round-table topics reflected the priority areas of promoting legal and orderly migration, establishing mechanisms for the effective integration of migration into development planning, assessing its effects on the economic and social development of origin and destination countries so as to identify priorities for the post-2015 development framework, and promoting well-managed regional labour mobility.
OLEG SENCHENKO( Russian Federation) welcomed the decision to hold the High-Level Dialogue in 2013 saying he hoped it would be a “fruitful” exchange of solutions addressing migration. The Russian Federation had taken significant steps to improve migration legislation and improve working conditions for migrants, he said, noting that the Government had issued more than 924,000 work visas in 2012, 11 per cent higher than the number issued in all of 2011. The Government wished to provide migrants with socio-economic security and to improve their knowledge of their legal status and rights.
Historically, the Russian Federation had been a State of many nationalities and religions, he said, adding that the Government was taking steps to ensure that it remained diverse and continued to welcome migrants. It was also a significant source of highly-skilled workers for countries around the world, and was working to attract high-skilled workers in turn, particularly in the science and technology field. The Government wished to further develop the legalization of migration flows while increasing the accountability of employers who illegally recruited migratory workers, he said, adding that the Russian Federation expected “productive developments” with the United States and the European Union in the migratory sector, and continued its intensive cooperation in countering illegal migration.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said international migration and development were very important topics that his country was trying to deal with at the national and international levels. Underscoring the need to find more effective methods to manage migration, he said the phenomenon provided real opportunities in regard to financial transfers. For recipient countries, migratory flows provided labour and contributed to growth and development, in addition to shaping societies by establishing social structures.
For Senegal, the transfer of funds was equivalent to 9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), he said, noting that remittances contributed to the country’s development and thus encouraging their continued flow. There was a need for appropriate institutional frameworks, which would require real political will to ensure full respect for migrants rights and those of their families, particularly women, he said, stressing also the importance of combating trafficking. Welcoming the particular support provided by the European Union on border management, he said that, given the severe challenges of international migration, it was important to address disparities in national development, adding that migrants were likely to move where there was financial opportunity.
PIUS WENNUBST( Switzerland) said international migration did not only present challenges, it also created opportunities. Given the growing complexity and influence of migratory movements in an increasing interconnected and globalized world, it was in the interest of all stakeholders — including States, civil society, the private sector, as well as migrants and their families — to create and maintain efficient mechanisms for collaboration, and to explore equal partnerships.
Having been engaged in the Global Forum on Migration and Development and other regional forums, he said, Switzerland firmly believed in the need to pursue such efforts at the global level, in a spirit of partnership, coherence and shared responsibility. In the context of its foreign migration policy, the Government was committed to a comprehensive approach to migration, aimed at developing new forms of cooperation and partnership, particularly with origin or transit countries, by according equal consideration to the interests and needs of partner countries and migrants themselves.
Looking forward to the High-Level Dialogue, it was important to accord equal consideration to all dimensions of migration and development, he said. Political engagement must be strengthened and the issues of migration and development dealt with regularly at the United Nations. That could be done in parallel with other complementary processes, such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which Switzerland had chaired in 2011 and continued to view as an essential platform for dialogue between States. The United Nations, by virtue of its universal legitimacy, constituted the best framework for exploring certain important aspects of migration with a view to promoting coherence at all levels of policy relating to migration and development, for the common good of migrants and societies.
MS. ARIAS ( El Salvador) associated herself with the Group of 77 and China, and called for greater international efforts to address the challenges arising from globalization. Underscoring the continuing reliance of developing countries on commodities and natural resources, and their continuing vulnerability to shifts in global markets, she said there was a clear need to emphasize diversification. She also called for completion of the Doha Development Round, which upheld the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Additionally, the much-needed reform of the international financial system called for a focus on reducing risk and instability, she said, adding that reforms must bring the system better into line with the modern global economy, reflecting the role of developing countries within it.
She said 3 million Salvadorians living abroad had sent $3.6 billion home in 2011. Their remittances accounted for 26.8 per cent of total (Value Added Tax) VAT collection, according to the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador. The phenomenon of migration was complex, she said, expressing high hopes that debate on the subject would result in proposals for the High-Level Dialogue and contribute more broadly to migration’s continuing contribution to development. She underscored the need for continued efforts to ensure that benefits accrued to providers as well as recipients of migrant labour, saying that her country’s strategy focused on the human rights of migrants and Salvadorians living elsewhere. El Salvador’s strategy also sought to discourage young people from migrating by working with communities to strengthen their sense of belonging and establish a stronger focus on local development in local municipalities.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said a new global governance structure was needed based on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest, cooperation and solidarity among all States. The voice and participation of developing countries should be enhanced, especially in international economic decision-making and norm-setting. Least developed countries should be given predictable international help and a favourable global trade regime, while the role of the United Nations in establishing global economic governance should be strengthened to help it “pave the path and play the pivotal role” in reforming international financial institutions and global development governance.
Describing remittances as essential to his country’s economic development, he pointed out that the remittances sent home by 7.5 million Bangladeshis overseas made up 12 per cent of GDP, a figure nearly five times larger than the ODA or foreign direct investment (FDI) received annually. Noting that the historical relationship between migration and development no longer existed, he said there was now a “precarious situation” because the free flow of labour was not treated in the same way as the free flow of capital, goods and commodities. He called for liberalization of the international labour market, noting the high economic, social and political costs borne by migrants. The benefits of migration had plummeted, especially for unskilled workers due to higher migration costs and lower wages abroad, he said, calling for an end to exploitation of and discrimination against migrants as well as greater facilitation of remittance flows.
MAURICIO FAVERO(Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said globalization was not a neutral process, and called on the international community to work in coordination, on the basis of equity, interdependence, common interest, cooperation and solidarity. That was necessary in order to correct all international institutional frameworks that were biased against developing countries. Rather than reverting to protectionism and xenophobia, it was possible to curb the excesses and address the shortcomings of globalization, while preserving its dynamism and vitality, he said. Globalization could produce unprecedented opportunities, but also raised considerable risks, he said, adding that it was therefore crucial to manage it carefully, taking the needs and vulnerabilities of developing countries into particular consideration.
He said the tremendous expansion of global trade seen in recent decades had been promoted by an across-the-board reduction of tariff barriers for industrial products and the further erosion of the policy space available for developing countries to overcome their heavy reliance on commodities. Trade liberalization and its binding obligations on industrial products had ended up curbing and prohibiting Government policies geared towards supporting local firms and industrialization. The deregulation discourse and practice of the last decades had set the stage for the global financial crisis and short-term capital volatility, which subsequently had contributed to spreading economic uncertainty, he noted. New financial schemes for South-South cooperation, such as the South Bank, would help the global economy recover, he said. International migration was a decisive element in shaping Brazil’s unique national identity, and played a key role in bringing new energy and creativity to its economic dynamism, he noted.
ASTRIDE NAZAIRE( Haiti), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CARICOM, said her country was one of significant migration. Recent empirical data showed numerous challenges to migration and migrants, with the global financial crises threatening to accelerate the rise in living conditions and further marginalize migrant workers. It was therefore much more important to protect migrants, who were striving to improve the lives of their families, she said, describing them as hard-working contributors to their host countries. Expressing deep concern about human trafficking, particularly as it affected small children and adolescents, she said the United Nations was mounting an adequate response to the problem and welcomed the initiative to prepare a series of laws from which Member States could draw.
Emphasizing the crucial need for migration policies acceptable to most major stakeholders, she pointed out the existence of a worldwide Haitian diaspora, saying it was important to address her country’s loss of human capital following the migration of its citizens. It was imperative to attack the deeper reasons for migration, which created imbalances entailing poverty, climate change, conflict and disasters. Haitians were studying ways to invest in the order to optimize their savings for their country’s benefit. Haiti was indebted to the International Organization for Migration, for having helped to articulate its policy. She affirmed her country’s complete support for the goals and discussions set for the High-Level Dialogue.
DEREK O’BRIEN, Member of Parliament from India, associated himself with the Group of 77 and China, and said he looked forward to the High-Level Dialogue, hoping for strong political commitments to migration as a development paradigm. Stressing the importance of a humane management of international migration, he said that remained an “acute challenge”. It was also necessary to establish institutional structures within the United Nations to deal with the ever-expanding ramifications of international migration and the issue of in-country migration, particularly the rural-urban form in developing countries. Describing migration as “the oldest poverty alleviation tool”, he said “reluctance or unwillingness on the part of the developed world to accept and act on the fact that they have been beneficiaries of migration from the South” was hampering acceptance of the phenomenon as something positive.
Remittances had a “measurable impact” on development, he said, noting that a 10 per cent increase in the amounts sent home led to a 3.1 per cent drop in poverty in developing countries, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). However, remittances could not be compared to, or equated with, the impact of ODA on development and poverty eradication. Although international migration remained a North-South phenomenon, growing connectivity had led to an increase in South-South migration, to 73 million, in 2010, he recalled. There were many benefits that migrants brought to destination societies, not least their filling of labour-market gaps. On short-term migration, he said the issue of pension portability must be covered because migrants paid into social security funds that they lost once they left. He also stressed the need to curb irregular migration because of its security and societal ramifications, and called for concerted efforts to “address the scourge of trafficking persons, especially women and children”.
CHRISTIAN STROHAL (Austria), aligning himself with the European Union, said that, as Chair of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Bureau, he welcomed preparations for the High-Level Dialogue as well as IOM’s efforts, particularly its recent seminars in New York that had highlighted its current activities in protecting migrants in times of crisis. The subject had been developed throughout the year in IOM’s International Dialogue on Migration, he said, adding that IOM had discussed the need for streamlining discussions in Geneva, Brussels and New York to guarantee the best possible preparation for the High-Level Dialogue while integrating the expertise of all stakeholders. The Dialogue was a key event in the field of migration, he said, calling for an inclusive preparatory process and saying he looked forward to early discussions on modalities and possible themes for the round tables, to ensure targeted preparations on a subject that had become a “mega-trend of the twenty-first century”.
JACKSON TAN (Singapore), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that, as a small island State without natural resources, his country had to keep its economy open. Singapore relied heavily on external trade, and had been ranked third by Ernst & Young’s Globalization Index in 2011, earning a perfect score of 10 in terms of openness to trade. It benefited from its close economic integration with the rest of the world and had ridden the wave of globalization, he said, recalling that Singapore’s total external trade had grown by more than 120 per cent over the past decade, while its GDP had expanded in tandem to reach 83 per cent in real terms over the same period.
Yet, at the same time, Singapore’s openness meant that it was particularly vulnerable to the forces of globalization, he said, recalling that the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009 had caused a sharp recession. To cope with the risks of globalization, the national strategy was to make efforts to equip its people with the skills and mindsets needed to meet global competition. Concerning migration, he said Singapore was one of the top destinations for potential migrants. According to Gallup’s Net Migration Index, if all adults around the world who desired to migrate permanently to other countries actually did so, Singapore’s population would increase three-fold. Emphasizing the importance of migrant workers understanding their rights and obligations, he said those applying for work permits in Singapore were issued letters while still in their home countries, which contained useful information to help them protect their interests and rights.
TERRI ROBL ( United States), emphasizing that international migration was central to her country’s very identity, described immigration as having been critical to the economic growth and development of the United States. More than 40 per cent of its current population of 300 million people could trace their ancestry to immigrants who had passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954, she noted, adding: “It is difficult to conceive what the United States would be like today without the contributions made by the over 120 million people who immigrated during this period.” Many millions had also arrived in the United States before 1892 and since 1954, she noted.
Describing migration as a “timely and critical theme”, she said that, given the occurrence of so many humanitarian crises with consequences for migrants in recent years — from the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the crisis in Libya in 2011 and the current one in Syria, among others — the international community had been “extremely generous” in addressing them. The United States helped IOM, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other actors respond to the plight of “stranded migrants” during crisis, she said.
She went on to express hope that the High-Level Dialogue would serve as an excellent opportunity for all Member States to reflect seriously on what more might be done in that regard. The United States supported the Global Forum on Migration and Development, and was keen to see it continue as an informal, non-binding, voluntary and Government-led process outside the United Nations. She urged the Dialogue to focus on critical substantive issues rather than getting bogged down on questions relating to institutional mandates. At the same time, she expressed hope that Member States would recognize the need to ensure that IOM - the only international organization with an excusive mandate for global migration - had a prominent seat at the table.
DIANA ALI AL-HADID ( Jordan) associated herself with the Group of 77 and China, saying that the growing movement of people offered real potential for development in destination, transit and origin countries. While migration did not feature prominently in the original framework of the Millennium Development Goals, it had received attention in the context of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and the discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals. It was important to integrate migration into development policy agendas and development goals, and to develop a shared understanding of the links connecting migration and development, she said, adding in that regard that she looked forward to the High-Level Dialogue.
T. F. MOLOGE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that addressing challenges associated with globalization and interdependence required international commitment to the 1974 Declaration on a New International Economic Order. Though much had changed since that time, many of the Declaration’s ideas and principles, such as its emphasis on common but differentiated responsibilities, remained valuable, he said. Of equal importance was the need to stabilize global commodity prices and monetary systems, and to improve the representation of developing countries in international institutions.
He reiterated the central role of the United Nations in promoting globalization and interdependence by promoting collaboration and cooperation, especially on issues such as technology transfer and the integration of developing countries into the global economy. Industrialized nations were taking advantage of trade liberalization in the developing world by dumping cheap manufactured goods, which rendered local industries inefficient, he pointed out. That resulted in slow growth, low capacity utilization and low output. The remedy would require the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round, he stressed.
Nigeria had made strides towards integration by implementing national policies that relaxed market and capital controls that raised obstacles to trade and FDI, he said. Pledging his government’s support for dialogue on South-South migration, he said there was pressure on migration flows into Nigeria due to desertification and drought in the Sahel region and conflict in Mali. The Government had developed a comprehensive national migration policy that would focus on the links between migration and development, he said, adding that it had produced a document titled “Passport to Safe Migration”, which contained information for migrants. It would be distributed to Nigerian passport-issuing offices and consulates. He went on to underline the need to address crimes against migrants, citing a Government agency established to deal with that problem and a bill on the prevention of people-smuggling.
MOJTABA ALIBABAEE(Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that although globalization could be a powerful and dynamic force for strengthening cooperation and accelerating growth and development, it nevertheless presented many risks and challenges, especially for developing countries. It often perpetuated or even increased the marginalization of developing countries, he said, emphasizing that migration must be a positive force for change, benefitting all countries and contributing to the prosperity and empowerment of developing ones, not their continued impoverishment and dependence on the developed world.
In addition, greater efforts must be made to generate a global strategy to prioritize and mainstream the development dimension into global processes and the relevant multilateral institutions, he said. That would enable developing countries to benefit from the opportunities offered by globalization and trade liberalization. Calling for the strengthening of the United Nations, he said its role in international cooperation for development was essential for responding to current and future challenges and opportunities emanating from globalization. The international community should strive against cultural homogenization in the context of globalization, through increased intercultural dialogue and respect, as well as values and exchanges of views guided by the principle of respect for all.
THALAPITA DHANAPALA(Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that due to his country’s strategic location in the middle of the Indian Ocean, between east and west, it had experienced migration for many centuries. The end of the war against terrorism in 2009 had created many opportunities for foreign investment, hence the number of migrants was now on the rise, he said, noting that Sri Lanka had many of them working in hospitality, the arts and restaurant management, among other areas. The latter part of the 1980s had featured a major outward movement of refugees, associated with the country’s internal conflict, he recalled.
Those movements had gone mostly unrecorded and had not been duly captured in border statistics, he said, adding that the presence of significant numbers of asylum-seekers was frequently reported in Western countries. Since the defeat of terrorism in 2009, there was little reason for citizens to leave Sri Lanka due to security concerns, but security was often cited as the reason for seeking illegal entry into Western countries, rather than any neighbouring one. As for migrants coming into the country, he said that while Sri Lanka sought to control illegal migrants, it did not deny them basic rights, especially health and education. The Government had also equipped temporary detention centres to safeguard those rights, he said. Sri Lanka worked closely with IOM to provide technical assistance in training officials in charge of immigration, border security and migrants’ welfare.
LUIS-ALFONSO DE ALBA( Mexico) said migration was a priority for his country, which served as a point of origin, transit and destination. Migrants were important to the development of origin and destination countries, making social, cultural and economic contributions. The resources they remitted to their countries of origin helped to alleviate poverty and were clearly part of development. He called for greater protection of the human rights of migrants and complained that only 46 States had ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. With the High-Level Dialogue due in 2013, the current session of the Second Committee was of great importance, he said, adding that there was a need to evaluate the six years of progress since the last Dialogue, and to identify chances for further progress. Hopefully, the upcoming High-Level Dialogue would result in the mainstreaming of efforts to integrate migration more comprehensively into the development agenda, he said.
CHRISSIE SILUMBU ( Malawi) associated herself with the Group of 77 and China, saying that despite the positive developments resulting from globalization, its negative effects had seriously affected efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. Exchange-rate fluctuations raised the cost of essentials like medicines, increases in commodity prices, particularly fertilizer, made supporting agriculture more expensive, and rising prices put pressure on imported energy. Sustainable development and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals required a stable, globalized world, she said, adding that the United Nations should work to bring about institutional reform so as to ensure the full accommodation of developing countries, especially in the international trading system.
CHEN YINGZHU( China), associating herself with the Group of 77, said the increasing rate of migration worldwide had never been so complex. It had economic, political and social ramifications that affected countries at the local, national and international levels. Climate change and disasters had become more notable causes for people to migrate from one region to another. It was important to safeguard the rights of migrants, in order to ensure the continuing flow of remittances, she said. In that regard, China encouraged the G-8 to lower remittance costs, thus contributing to the social and economic well-being of origin countries. It was also essential to protect the most vulnerable groups of people, particularly women, she said emphasizing also that it was crucial to address the underlining causes of migration, such as poverty, conflict and climate change.
FRANCIS ASSISI CHULLIKATT, the permanent representative of the Holy See, called for the creation of a “model market economy”, in which all people would be able to participate fully and benefit, without any group making progress at the expense of others. That particular vision was now being placed at risk by the accelerating dynamics of globalization and the increasing inequality between and within States, he warned. Business enterprises were different today, as investments were typically spread across several territories. Managers were changed frequently and did not feel a responsibility for the long-term, while investments themselves had a short-term focus. All those realities weakened a company’s sense of responsibility towards traditional stakeholders, including workers, suppliers of inputs, consumers and the natural environment, he said, emphasizing that it was important not to view globalization either as a position or negative development, but rather as something that offered new opportunities for development. There were significant risks for those countries least prepared to take advantage of its potential benefits, he cautioned. But if properly managed, globalization could be vital to development. If poorly managed, however, it could exacerbate inequality and poverty.
TIMBE BAKA ZOLAY PIUS (Democratic Republic of Congo), associating himself with Group of 77 and with the statement made by the delegation of Senegal, said the total number of individuals migrating had spiked in recent years. Countries of the North had experienced an influx of migrant workers seeking a better life, he said, adding that trends also indicated North-North, North-South and South-South movements. Those migration patterns were as diverse as the reasons for migrating. The migration phenomenon was on the rise and wielding greater influence in the economic, political and social spheres, which called for all necessary efforts to find lasting solutions. Emphasizing the importance of protecting millions of migrants against xenophobia, discrimination and violence, he said particular attention should be paid in the present era of globalization. The Democratic Republic of the Congo hoped to invest in education and secure technology in order to move towards modernization and improve the standard of living for Congolese people in their own country, he said.
MICHELLE KLEIN SOLOMON, Permanent Observer for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said there was growing recognition that migration affected everyone, with nearly every country in the world involved as a point of origin, transit or destination, and increasingly as all three simultaneously. Through remittances, migrant rights, migration policies and environmental change, migration’s links with development were acknowledged, she said, adding that safe, legal, voluntary and humanely managed migration could contribute positively to development.
Nonetheless, the systematic integration of migration into development policies was not widespread, and helping Governments to realize its development potential would be a major task, she said. IOM had spent $1.3 billion on strengthening capacities to respond to challenges, selecting migration initiatives with a thematic focus and supporting initiatives that would facilitate international cooperation, dialogue and partnership on the issue. Comprising 8,300 staff in 450 field locations, IOM was running 2,700 projects focused on policy guidance as well as technical and operational support, she said, adding that she looked forward to establishing a post-2015 development agenda that would incorporate migration fully as a mainstream issue.
TELMA VIALE, Special Representative to the United Nations and Director, International Labour Organization (ILO), said international migration was “essentially a labour issue”. Some 3.1 per cent of the world’s population lived outside their country of origin, double the number from 25 years ago, and it was expected to increase because of growing demand for skilled as well as low-skilled workers in destination countries. Other reasons included ageing populations and workforces, lack of jobs and decent working conditions in origin countries, and widening income inequalities within and between countries. ILO had striven to ensure that global policy debates and initiatives addressed key challenges and questions associated with labour migration, and the upcoming High-Level Dialogue would provide an opportunity to affirm the value of the linkages between employment, labour protection and development policies, and to recognize the pivotal role that ILO’s constituency played in the improved governance of international labour migration.
* *** *For information media • not an official record