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

Round table 3
“Strengthening partnerships and cooperation on international migration, mechanisms to effectively integrate migration into development policies and promoting coherence at all levels”
High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development

Madame Chairperson,
Ladies and Gentleman,

It is a pleasure and a privilege to join you in this round table on partnerships and cooperation.

The first High-level Dialogue, in 2006, was the beginning of a new journey, as we started a conversation on the benefits and challenges of migration at the highest level.  

Judging from the level of our debate, from the issues being addressed and from the quality of our preparations, we can only conclude that we have made significant progress since 2006.

But we still lack a clear way forward in facilitating the mobility of labour and individuals.

The current reality is a complex approach to migration governance, with limited United Nations mandates and various State-led and informal processes at the bilateral, regional and global levels.  These various processes are sometimes complementary, but sometimes they are overlapping, repetitive or contradictory.

Given such a patchwork of arrangements, how can we promote coherence in the global governance of migration?

One way is to strengthen the collaboration among the Global Forum on Migration and Development, the UN system and the Global Migration Group. Key stakeholders and civil society should also be part of this conversation.


Bilateral and regional cooperation on migration has grown significantly in recent years.  This is only natural and logical.  As our recently released global migration estimates demonstrate, much migration occurs between pairs of countries, or between countries located in the same region.

In light of these existing migration patterns, and driven also by the benefits of labour mobility, we have seen a renewed interest in facilitating the free movement of labour through regional cooperation mechanisms, such as the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  We have also seen the conclusion of bilateral labour agreements and mobility partnerships and the expansion of informal regional consultative processes on migration.

Ladies and gentlemen,

How can the successful partnerships and experiences of cooperation on migration and development at the bilateral and regional levels, be translated to the multilateral or global level?

It is important to build on the good practices already developed at the national, bilateral and regional levels. Assessing progress on a regular basis will help to support and implement our common commitments.

Without a doubt, migration is important to the post-2015 development agenda.  I am sure that the on-going discussion on migration and development will contribute to the processes in the formulation of the global development agenda beyond 2015, to ensure that the benefits of migration can be fully harnessed while systematically addressing the key challenges of migration.

In keeping with our overall theme, let us focus on achievable results that will improve the lives of migrants.  The report of the Secretary-General enumerates a series of measures we can take — for example:

  • promoting the mutual recognition of diplomas and skills,
  • reducing remittance and recruitment costs,
  • creating sufficient legal channels of migration,
  • ratifying the Domestic Workers Convention, and
  • improving the evidence base.

Before closing, allow me to say a few words about this latter point, on the evidence base. The importance of reliable statistical data on international migration cannot be underestimated. It is essential to assess the contributions of migrants to development. It can also help to facilitate the formulation of evidence-based policy, which can further enhance the contribution of migration to development, creating a virtuous cycle.


I look forward to your concrete initiatives, announcements and commitments to implement such practical measures in following up this High-level Dialogue.  In this way, the 230 million international migrants in the world, and the millions more whose livelihoods depend on migration, will be able to hold us accountable.

My Department stands ready to assist countries in any way possible to identify and implement practical measures to make migration work for development.

Thank you, Madame Chairperson.