Global importance of migration for development


“We must guard against the adoption of protectionist and isolationist policies: history has shown us the cost of those. We must make sure that we guarantee the rights of migrants and assure them of decent lives and working conditions,” said H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, as he opened the Informal Thematic Debate on International Migration and Development.

The one day event was hosted by Mr. Deiss on 19 May at UN Headquarters in New York. The debate discussed policies that attempt to maximize the opportunities of international migration for development and reduce its negative impacts ahead of the 2013 High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development. The first round table discussed the contribution of migrants to development and the second focused on improving international cooperation on migration and development.

Approximately 214 million people or about three per cent of the world’s population is currently living outside their countries of origin. Noting that we live in an age of mobility, a time when more people are on the move than any other time in human history, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need to garner the positives of migration for the global good.

Migrant labor is desirable and necessary to sustain economic growth and rise out of the current recession. Migration is important for the transfer of manpower and skills and provides the needed knowledge and innovation for global growth.

In order to address the issues raised by global migration, it is necessary to improve international coordination. Mr. Abdelhamid El Jamri, Chairperson of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families explained “We need to examine issues faced by migrants in order to help in countries of countries.”

Mr. Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director and Chair-in-Office of the Global Migration Group, of which UN/DESA is a member, concluded, “As we take stock and look ahead to the 2013 High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, it is clear that much more remains to be done.  Dialogue, consultation and partnerships have never been more important and we have more to learn from each other than ever before.”

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