27 September 2013
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General Stresses Need to Include Migrant Voices in Post-2015

Development Agenda at Launch of Chief Executives Board Publication

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the launch of the Chief Executives Board publication on international migration and development:  contributions and recommendations of the international system, in New York on 27 September:

I am pleased to be here to launch the Chief Executives Board publication on international migration and development.  This publication gives an overview of the work of the United Nations, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners since the first High-level Dialogue in 2006.  It is also a contribution for next week’s General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.

I had the honour to chair the 2006 Dialogue as President of the General Assembly.  Since then, there has been an increasing focus on international migration and its links to development.  As the United Nations charts a course for the period beyond 2015, there is growing consensus that migration must be an important part of this new universal development agenda.

Migrants contribute to development through their labour, skills, remittances, investments, networks and knowledge-sharing.  These contributions can be enhanced by lowering migration costs and ensuring equal treatment.  This relates to working conditions, wages, safety, health, pensions and other social security benefits.

The term “migrant” describes what they do, but let us remember who they are:  human beings with human rights.  Migrant women were once mainly seen as family members accompanying their husbands or fathers.  Today, many women migrate on their own in search of employment or education.  Women currently comprise about half of all international migrants.  Migrants who are able to live with dignity and security not only lead more enriched lives, but are also able to contribute more to societies.  Migrants in legal limbo, especially women, children and youth, are particularly vulnerable to abuse.

The number of international migrants continues to grow; the number of people directly affected by migration is far larger.  Family members in home countries depend on migrants to help break poverty cycles that go back generations.  Business and industries in developed and developing countries alike rely on migrants to fill key labour and skills shortages.  Migrants stimulate growth, employment, innovation and entrepreneurship in countries of origin and destination.  They enrich the cultural life of societies and strengthen people-to-people contacts between countries.

The Secretary-General’s new report, “A Life of Dignity for All”, provides his vision for the road ahead.  It is abundantly clear that the world after 2015 will be one of even greater human mobility.  Therefore, migration will need to be an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda.  The voices of migrants themselves must also be heard as part of this process.

The international system is working ever more closely on this issue.  The new Chief Executives Board publication will be a valuable resource as we move ahead.  I thank the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the IOM, which gathered and integrated the contributions of 28 organizations and entities, both inside and outside the United Nations.  I want to express warm appreciation to all the contributors.

It is my sincere hope that next week’s High-level Dialogue will usher in ever more dedicated, coherent and constructive efforts by the international community in support of migrants and migration.

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For information media • not an official record