“Diversity of humanity is our greatest strength”

Around the world today, there are some 244 million international migrants – people living outside their country of birth. That means more than 3 per cent of the global population left their homes, most of whom in search of a better life abroad.

The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, convened by the General Assembly this September, reaffirmed the migration-related commitments made by Member States in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and resulted in the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The Declaration, adopted by all 193 Member States, emphasized the need for international cooperation and, in particular, responsibility-sharing in responding to large movements of refugees and migrants and in designing planned and well-managed migration policies.

Since 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a Member State-led forum outside the United Nations, provides a platform for policy makers and experts to promote informal dialogue and cooperation on migration and development policies in practical and action-oriented ways.

The ninth edition of the GFMD was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 10 to 12 December 2016.  Participants discussed challenges and opportunities of migration for sustainable development. Discussion at this year’s forum focused on the follow-up of the New York Declaration, including the commitment to develop a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration as well as strategies to counter the surge of intolerance and xenophobia against migrants and refugees around the globe.

“The diversity of humanity is our greatest strength,” Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary General, said on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Where ethnic or religious groups live side by side in harmony, diversity can spur creativity, learning and innovation.”

Participants at the forum highlighted the TOGETHER initiative, aimed at combating xenophobia and at promoting tolerance between refugees and migrants and host communities. The campaign was launched by the Secretary-General at the UN Summit.

“If all parts of the UN system work together to build on each other’s strengths, we will be able to meet the expectations of Member States and our collective responsibilities to migrants across the globe,” Mr. Wu emphasized.

UN Member States, guided by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and with support from the UN system, civil society and the business sector, committed to enhance the protection of all the people who on the move, regardless of status.


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