The High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) was held on 3 and 4 October 2013, marking the second time in history that the United Nations considered international migration and development in the General Assembly. With consideration of Secretary-General’s report for HLD an outcome Declaration has been adopted.
The overall theme of the 2013 HLD was identifying concrete measures to strengthen coherence and cooperation at all levels in order to enhance the benefits of migration and to address its challenges. The report of the Secretary-General for the HLD (A/68/190), prepared by DESA with inputs from the Global Migration Group (GMG) and the SRSG for Migration, identified an 8-point agenda for action, with concrete measures to protect the rights of migrants and to leverage the benefits of migration for development.
Echoing many of the points put forward in the SG’s report, Member States adopted a Declaration of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development during the opening of the event (A/68/L.5). This joint declaration showed that since the first HLD, which had resulted in a Chair’s summary, trust between Member States had grown, allowing them to agree on some key principles and recommendations on international migration and development. In particular, the declaration recognizes the important contributions migrants make to countries of origin, transit and destination. It acknowledges the need to integrate both development and human rights dimensions into the migration debate and calls for safe, orderly and regular migration. The declaration also recognizes migration as a key factor for sustainable development and calls for integrating migration into the post-2015 development agenda. Other points in the declaration refer to practical initiatives to assist and support migrants stranded in vulnerable situations; to promote conditions for cheaper transfer of remittances, and to improve the collection of migration data.
The HLD was opened by the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General and the President of the Economic and Social Council. The opening also featured Sweden as the Chair of the State-led Global Forum on Migration and Development, Professor Ian Goldin as an eminent person in the field of international migration, a migrant, and the rapporteur of the informal hearings of civil society. The Deputy-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for migration Peter Sutherland participated in the closing.
Parallel to the plenary meeting, four interactive roundtables, co-chaired by Member States, were organized featuring multi-stakeholder panels, including Member States, international organizations and civil society. The round tables focused on (a) migration and the post-2015 development agenda; (b) human rights of migrants, human trafficking and migrant smuggling; (c) partnerships and cooperation in migration, and (d) regional labour mobility.
More than 100 Member States, many at the ministerial and vice-ministerial level, about 350 civil society representatives as well as numerous permanent observers and international organizations participated in the event. The role of civil society in the 2013 HLD was significantly greater than it had been in 2006. Thus, several NGO and civil society representatives were allowed to speak in the plenary, while they also participated in roundtables either as panelists or as speakers from the floor.
In their presentations, many Member States covered national practices and recommended measures to address migration challenges and to leverage migration for development. There were calls to develop a framework for the mutual recognition of qualifications and diplomas; to regulate the recruitment industry; to reduce the costs of migration, especially recruitment and remittance transfer fees; to engage diaspora groups; to respect migrant labour rights; to develop circular migration programmes; to improve the evidence base; and to promote coherence, partnerships and collaboration at the national, bilateral, regional and global levels.
Major Groups and other stakeholders will have an intersessional meeting with members of the Open Working Group on sustainable development goals on 22 November , just before the Group holds its fifth session from 25 to 27 November. They will be able to make suggestions on how the Open Working Group could address several cross-cutting issues regarding the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The meeting will be designed as a dynamic dialogue. It will help conceptualize a number of things, such as: practical approaches to rights-based SDGs that integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development; SDGs that are designed to eradicate poverty, mitigate inequalities and lead to inclusiveness; how to make good governance and multi-stakeholder partnerships the building blocks of the SDGs; how to design SDGs that foster human and economic development within planetary boundaries.
The Co-Chairs of the Open Working Group will co-chair the sessions with members of Major Groups and other stakeholders and have invited Open Working Group Member States to attend at the highest level. They will circulate a summary with highlights of the discussions at the Open Working Group’s fifth session.
Since not all stakeholders with an interest in contributing to the conversation will be able to attend the event, several measures to collect their inputs will be taken. Major Groups and other Stakeholders will be able to share their inputs in a pre-consultation ahead of 22 November, on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
The intersessional meeting will be live streamed on UN Web TV and it will be possible to send comments and questions to the participants at the meeting via UN DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development’s Twitter channel (@SustDev, #SustDev).
The Second Committee (economic and financial matters) began its work on 9 October and has concluded its traditional general debate on Friday, 11 October. Key issues emerging from the debate comprised the implementation of the MDGs and the outcomes of Rio+20 and elaboration of the post 2015 development agenda.
The Second Committee began its work under the Chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo, Permanent Representative of Senegal with an organizational meeting and the election of its bureau. This was followed in the afternoon with statements by the Chairman, the USG of UN DESA, delivered on his behalf by Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, ASG of UN DESA, and a key note address by Professor Chetty of Harvard University (see article in Capacity development section).
The traditional general debate of the Second Committee was concluded on Friday 11 October 2013. Over ninety speakers participated in the debate, eight of them representing country groups (G77 and China, EU, ASEAN, LDCs, LLDCs, AOSIS, CARICOM and CELAC).
The key issues that emerged in the presentations and the debate are below:
The analysis of economic and social policy is being transformed by new data and methods, as opposed to traditional theory-driven study of macro questions. Thus improving micro-level policy decisions can have great macro-level impacts, and harnessing big data can provide the evidence base for designing many sustainable development policies.
The world economy was in a state of flux, driven by uncertainty and risk. Five years after the global economic and financial crisis, most developed economies were experiencing sluggish recovery, while growth in emerging economies faced new challenges, including heightened volatility of international capital flows.
The implementation of the MDGs and the outcomes of Rio+20 and the process for the elaboration of the post 2015 development agenda stood out as the priority issue.
Climate change was seen as a critical challenge that needs singular attention, and was linked directly to poverty eradication and the achievement of sustainable development goals.
World economic and financial situation and global economic governance, and international development cooperation were treated simultaneously, although there were clear differences in approach between developing and developed countries, especially regarding the cause and effect of the crisis.
On trade, developing countries led the call for fair, transparent rule-based and development oriented trade outcomes in follow-up to the Doha Round. The debate set up high expectations for the upcoming Bali conference later in the year that many said should have a successful outcome.
Countries in special situations and Africa, with the land-locked developing countries, the least developed countries, the Small Island Developing States and Africa, supported by a many countries, continued to advocate for the need to address their special circumstances and to support the upcoming conferences on their issues.
The QCPR, with the emphasis that it should be implemented fully, and also with the messages that funding is linked to the effective delivery of operational activities, and that “delivering as one” still needs dedicated support.
The impact of globalization: challenges and solutions
On 23 October, the Second Committee considered agenda item 21(a) on globalization and interdependence, including sub-item: The role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence.
The report of the Secretary-General, prepared for agenda item 21(a), highlights the impact of globalization on the achievement of sustainable development and explores implications for a unified, universal, people-centered sustainable development agenda for the post-2015 era. The report highlights several challenges and offers policy recommendations to address them. Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development, UN DESA, introduced the report of the Secretary-General (A/68/259) on this agenda item.
In particular, the report notes that the effectiveness of multilateralism should be enhanced to fully realize the opportunities created by globalization and minimize and manage its costs and risks. The United Nations could further promote multilateral coordination, coherence and accountability in the post-2015 era. Therefore, the proper functioning of the institutional framework for the review and follow-up work in the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, including the new High-level Political Forum, will be essential. There is also need for a longer-term strategy for repositioning the UN development system to address current global realities and emerging challenges and interdependencies in such dimensions as function, funding, capacity, partnerships, organizational arrangements and governance.
Shaping globalization to ensure benefits for everyone
Many delegations addressed these issues in their interventions, including representatives of the G77 and China, CARICOM, ASEAN, and the African Group. Delegates stated that globalization should be shaped to ensure that it benefits everyone by using a multilateral approach. The UN should promote coherence of review and follow up and greater coordination. The focus on middle-income countries in the report was welcomed by several Member States.
Several Member States called for a renewed global partnership to address the challenges of globalization. Delegates emphasized that international trade does not always lead to sustainable development. Trade must also be equitable, and a rules-based global trading system will help achieve more balanced development. The G77 and China also voiced their concern with the lack of access to technology by developing countries and stressed that technology transfer should be facilitated through multilateral partnerships.
Delegations also emphasized that coherent international policy support is required for the post-2015 development agenda. Multilateralism, as well as global governance, will need to be strengthened, along with strong multilateral institutions, to ensure that the post-2015 global development agenda, facilitated by an inclusive multilateral system, will be able to distribute globalization benefits for everyone.