Deputy Secretary-General's opening remarks at press briefing on the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development
New York, 2 October 2013
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tomorrow and Friday, we will gather for the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. This will be the second time in its history that the United Nations General Assembly will devote a high-level meeting to global migration and to development.
Recent figures published by the UN confirm that international migration continues to increase in size, scope and impact. The overall number of international migrants increased from 175 million in 2000 to 232 million in 2013. Half of these migrants are women.
Evidence clearly shows that migration contributes significantly to development. In 2012 alone, migrant families in developing countries received about 400 billion US dollars in remittances, according to World Bank estimates. These remittances improve the access to inter alia health and education of migrant families. Thus, they contribute directly to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Migrant and diaspora communities can bring about innovation, trade and investment. Migrants contribute to economic development as entrepreneurs, by creating business start-ups and employment. They also represent an important and growing force for innovation and entrepreneurship.
The dramatic transformation of information technology – which you in this room know more about than most - has enabled migrants to strengthen their ties to their homelands. Migrants also play a role in the transfer of technology, skills and knowledge back to their countries of origin.
At the heart of migration are human beings who move. Indeed we can all trace our own background to migrants, be it in the near or far past. The term “migrant” describes what they do, but let us remember who they are: human beings with human rights. And also they are a force of people-to-people contact, which are so necessary in today’s world.
The main theme of the High-level Dialogue is to enhance the contribution of migration to global development and to mitigate migration challenges.
In his report, the Secretary-General has laid out an agenda to address the challenges and to make migration a catalyst for development. These measures range from protecting the human rights of all migrants, eliminating migrant exploitation, reducing the costs of migration, addressing the plight of migrant workers stranded as a result of humanitarian crises – as we see in far too many places in the world - and of course enhancing migrant partnerships and cooperation.
Member States will use these two days to focus on migration issues in all their aspects and to move this agenda forward.
As the UN will adopt a new development agenda in 2015, the High-level Dialogue also provides an important opportunity for Member States to propose ways to integrate migration into the post 2015 development agenda – a very important feature of this work. It ties into the work of the post-2015 development agenda.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friend and colleague Peter Sutherland, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Migration, for his contribution to the dialogue. I am sure you will give some comments of your own..
Thank you very much.