Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Closing Statement Commission on Population and Development Forty-sixth session

Delivered by Mr. John Wilmoth, Director of Population Division

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentleman,

I am honoured to address the Commission on Population and Development at its closing today. Although I did not have the privilege of being with you this past week, I have received daily reports from the Population Division and I understand that you have accomplished much.

You reviewed new trends in migration – both internal and international – and deliberated on how best to address the important nexus between migration and development.

You re-emphasized your commitment to respect, promote and protect the rights of migrants, regardless of their migration status. I applaud you on these accomplishments.

Your statements on national experiences were rich and illuminating. You explored diverse approaches to integrating migrants, addressing the needs of vulnerable groups, engaging diasporas for development, and promoting the voluntary return of skilled migrants.

Above all, you kept the main focus on migrants themselves – people from near and far who often take great risks to improve the circumstances of themselves and their families. And, throughout the process, they are advancing the development of their communities at home and abroad.

The facts are clear. The number of migrants is growing, internally and internationally. All countries are affected by migration as never before. Women and young people account for an important share of all migrants in the world, and increasingly women are migrating on their own.

Both internal migration and international migration are key topics of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. Each is covered by a full chapter in the Programme of Action.  But although considerable progress has been made since Cairo, there is more to be done.

Your deliberations have demonstrated once again that migrants’ rights must be protected in all situations. Migrants continue to face racial discrimination or xenophobia. They can become victims of human trafficking and smuggling. Whether left behind or far from home, they face barriers to completing their education and to recognition of their diplomas and qualifications. Especially in times of economic recovery, they face barriers to finding decent employment.

You have tackled these issues head-on and you have put forward many significant and far-reaching recommendations.  Your work this week is an important contribution to deciding how to address these issues. You have identified the actions required to accelerate achievement of the goals of the ICPD Programme of Action that affect all migrants.

Last but not least, your deliberations also stressed that regardless of the issue raised, we need a solid evidence base to ensure that debates and policies are based on the latest evidence. Data, research and capacity-building are therefore key priorities for advancing the agenda on this topic.


As you are aware, 2013 is an important year for the subject of migration at the United Nations. In October, the United Nations General Assembly will hold the second High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.

Your deliberations, and the report of this session, will inform the Dialogue later this year. Your discussions also provide input to the ongoing formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. Migration, as an enabler of sustainable development, should be fully integrated into this agenda.

Lastly, Mr. Chairman, let me congratulate you and other members of the Bureau for guiding both the preparation and the deliberations of this session of the Commission.

Your hard work and your deep engagement in facilitating the informal consultations, have led to a consensus outcome. You can all be proud of what has been achieved.

I wish you, your colleagues in the Bureau, and all the delegates who participated in this session, a restful weekend, and a safe return to those who have come from afar.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.                           

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