17 January 2008 Acknowledging that migration is an “explosive and often divisive” political issue in many nations, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today urged bolstered international cooperation to aid the world’s 200 million migrants, along with their families and communities.
“Only a short time ago, the international community had great difficulty discussing matters related to migration,” she said in an address to the Conference on Migration and Development in New York. “Dividing lines were drawn between north and south, between what we called ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ countries.”
However, recently, Ms. Migiro said, due in large part to large global meetings on the issue, accusations and recriminations have been replaced by “dispassionate discussion of how migration can contribute to development.”
Countries have come to realize, she pointed out, that collaboration will bring the greatest gains to not only migrants and their families, but also to both the communities they leave behind and move to.
“Let us build such an ethic of cooperation around issues of mutual benefit,” Ms. Migiro stated. “Then, as we build trust and achieve results, we can move on to address some of the more contentious issues we face.”
Last July at the inaugural Global Forum on Migration and Development held in Brussels, Belgium, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized migration as “one of the great global challenges of our century.”
Recognizing that it is a “sensitive” issue, he said that “we can work to strengthen the positive impact of migration on the development of migrants’ home countries. We can encourage destination countries to promote the success of migrants, both in their original and their adopted homes.”
The Deputy Secretary-General will leave this evening for Egypt to attend an Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) symposium on south-south cooperation. While in the country, she also plans to attend a conference on regional dialogue, as well as meet Government officials, the Secretary-General of the Arab League and UN staff.
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