In close collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) organized the first inaugural International Forum on Migration Statistics at OECD Conference Hall in Paris, France from 15 to 16 January 2018. Attended by over 500 experts from a crosscutting range of disciplines, the Forum offered a unique opportunity for both data producers and users to effectively interact and dynamically discuss how to improve existing data collection and dissemination methods. With 230 speakers over five plenary and 40 parallel sessions, discussions mostly focused on how to better facilitate data innovations for a greater understanding of human mobility in order to support more well-informed policy discussions.
The meeting was opened by the Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr. Ángel Gurría, Director General of the IOM, Mr. William L. Swing, and the Under-Secretary-General of UN DESA, Mr. Liu Zhenmin. Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division, also delivered a speech on integration and inclusive growth.
Represented by the Statistics Division and the Population Division, UN DESA enhanced the geographical diversity of attendees at the Forum by supporting participants from 12 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Participants not only expressed their appreciation for such learning opportunities, but also contributed to the Forum by delivering presentations on technical topics such as measuring the volume and characteristics of migration, analysing the impact of international migration on sending countries, and national plans on monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals for migrants. Some participants were even trainees from past UN DESA technical capacity activities and they were able to share their previous experiences and the knowledge that they had gained with other Member States.
Ultimately, the Forum provided an excellent opportunity for capacity building activities, especially in the form of mini-workshops such as Princeton University professor Douglas Massey’s on designing and implementing migration surveys in an effort to improve migration statistics resulting in better informed policy making decisions.
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