Addressing the importance of international migration

John R. Wilmoth, Director of DESA’s Population Division

Today, virtually all countries in the world are simultaneously countries of destination, origin and transit for international migrants. The rise in global mobility, the growing complexity of migratory patterns and the impact of such movements on development have all contributed to international migration becoming a priority for the international community. 

To facilitate the exchange of information on current migration activities among the international community, DESA’s Population Division organized the Eleventh Annual Coordination Meeting on International Migration on 21-22 February at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting focused on the importance of international migration for the UN development agenda, especially in light of the forthcoming High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development to be held by the General Assembly on 3-4 October 2013.

The first panel featured the previous (Mauritius) and current (Sweden) chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a state-led, informal process created as a result of the first High-level Dialogue held in 2006. The chairs explained how the Global Forum process had advanced global dialogue and cooperation on international migration and development.

The second panel focused on preparations for the 2013 High-level Dialogue with presentations from Peter Sutherland, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for migration and William Lacy Swing, Director-General, International Organization for Migration.

It was noted that migration is the world’s oldest poverty reduction strategy and an indispensable engine for human development, a driver of economic growth and a source of economic dynamism and innovation. Well managed migration is vital in overcoming development challenges, narrowing inequality and addressing demographic imbalances.  

By bringing together entities of the UN system, other relevant intergovernmental organizations and civil society, the coordination meeting provided a unique opportunity to enhance inter-agency coherence and cooperation on migration issues, maximizing the benefits of migration in countries of origin and destination and addressing the negative impacts of migration.

The results of the meeting will contribute to the report of the Secretary-General for the High-level Dialogue.

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