Deputy Secretary-General's remarks to press following High-Level Meeting on Migration and Refugee Movements [with Q&A]
New York, 30 September 2015
DSG: Good afternoon, or evening, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have just finished an enriching meeting on migration and refugee flows around the world. We had a tremendously strong interest in the meeting. So many speakers, in fact, that we had to cut off the meeting at about a third of the members, who could not speak, because there was such a great interest in this meeting.
We had high-level attendance from Presidents to Prime Ministers to Foreign Ministers and Immigration Ministers. I think it was covering the whole area of values and principles that guide us, international law that guides us, refugee law, humanitarian law, human rights…
We tried to focus on both the situation for countries of destination - of course that’s very much the European debate - but also the situation for countries of transit, and countries of origin.
The war in Syria came back several times in the interventions [as well as the fact] that we needed to deal with the root causes of the issues. There was also a strand of discussion which pointed out that migration and refugee flows is not a negative issue.
Of course it might strain societies in a short time, as we’ve seen in the debate in Europe and even in the United States, but we also pointed to the fact that this could be a very positive factor in terms of development, in terms of fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.
You know there is one of the goals, number ten, which relates to refugees, and population trends in the world point in the direction of having more flows going to the North.
So it was an important discussion. We will take the initiative forward. I will ask the President of the General Assembly to tell you about his plans and my dear friend and colleague from the UNHCR, António Guterres, will give his perspective.
We are now going off in different directions. EU will have a meeting with the African Union in Malta. There will be a meeting in Turkey with the Global Forum on Migration and Development. We will look forward to the pledging conference for humanitarian assistance in Syria, a very important factor in making people stay behind, rather than go off on perilous journeys. And we will also look forward to the Humanitarian Summit.
Apart from all this, we may consider having a specific conference to try to bring in all the elements initiated by the United Nations but that, we will need to discuss with our colleagues before we present them in more concrete form.
So at this moment I’m very honoured to introduce one of my successors as President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, who gave his concluding remarks just 20 minutes ago.
Q: Mr. Deputy Secretary-General, I’m going to ask you this: in choosing Mr. Guterres’ successor it’s said that you are the head of the panel. Could you describe, for the Secretariat, what the process is and if you’ve met with Helle Thorning-Schmidt or Mr. Achim Steiner? And I ask you in the spirit of transparency, the same transparency the Assembly is talking about for the next SG. How does the process work? Thank you.
DSG: There is a certain procedure which is a procedure which is guided very much by the fact that some candidates are official candidates, known to the outside, and some are not, and therefore it is not fair for me to comment actually on such a process at this stage.
Press Conferences on 30 September 2015