2030 Agenda – an important tool for safe migration
In 2015, the number of international migrants reached 244 million, which equals an increase of 71 million compared to 2000. At the same time, millions of people are fleeing severe conditions at home to seek refuge and safety abroad. For the international community, it is critical that all efforts are rallied to ensure safe and well-managed migration, where lives are saved and where the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees are protected.
“With the integration of migration and migrants in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 2016 is an important turning point,” said Thomas Gass, UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, as he opened the Fourteenth Annual Coordination Meeting on International Migration, organized by UN DESA’s Population Division.
“We not only have a target that promotes orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration,” Mr. Gass continued. “We also have targets to improve the working conditions of migrant workers; harness the benefits of migration for development; combat irregular migration; and reduce the costs of migration.”
At the well-attended opening of the meeting which ran from 25 through 26 February, Mr. Gass underscored the need to address the underlying reasons for involuntary migration. “This means that our attention should extend well beyond the migration-related targets,” he said.
Calling for “a set of commitments to reduce the vulnerabilities that all migrants face,” Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Migration, also pointed to the fact that we now have robust institutions in place to tackle these different challenges. “Now we must realize their potential. There is no time to waste,” he said.
The two-day meeting saw a number of topics discussed including migration in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the priorities for the UN agenda on migration in 2016.
One of this year’s major events is the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugee and Migrants which will take place on 19 September. “The General Assembly has never before called for a discussion of this topic at such a high level,” said Karen Koning AbuZayd, appointed Special Adviser for this event.
Ms. Koning AbuZayd stressed the need to change the negative narrative now prevalent in many countries to “one that is based on facts and on the confidence that practical solutions are within our common reach, if States opt to cooperate more effectively.”
As Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson presented the Secretary-General’s roadmap for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants, he also emphasized the need for a positive narrative which highlights the benefits of migration. ”The World Bank has repeatedly underlined that managed migration could help bring an end to extreme poverty as well as increase global prosperity,” Mr. Eliasson said.
“In 2016, we must galvanize the political will to agree on a comprehensive approach to human mobility in the 21st century. This will make it possible for migrants, refugees, host communities and our nations to together help secure our common future.”
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