13 July 2018

Global Compact Shows Potential of Multilateralism, Deputy Secretary-General Says, Calling Collective Response to Migration ‘Woefully Inadequate’

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the final round of negotiations towards a Global Compact for Migration, in New York today:

You have delivered on the commitment of the New York Declaration, to craft a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  This compact demonstrates the potential of multilateralism:  our ability to come together on issues that demand global collaboration — however complicated and contentious they may be.

I thank and congratulate you, on behalf of the Secretary-General and myself, and on behalf of those who will benefit from this negotiation around the world.

Migration raises profound issues:  around State sovereignty and human rights; around what constitutes voluntary movement; the relationship between development and mobility; and how to support social cohesion.

The discourse around migration is increasingly hostile.  Too often, the reality of migrants’ lives — irregular and regular — is made even more difficult by prejudice and hardship.  This is not only dangerous.  It flies in the face of the overwhelmingly positive impact of migration.

The large mixed flows of refugees and migrants that we continue to witness, and the tens of thousands of preventable deaths of migrants in transit, show that our collective response is woefully inadequate.  However, today’s agreement will strengthen faith in our ability to develop cooperative approaches to global challenges.

Let me highlight four reasons why we believe this Compact is so important.  First, it is global; it does not focus on any particular region but considers all geographical locations and aspects of migration.  I commend your commitment to reviewing progress on a regular basis.  Second, the Compact’s aim is not to stop migration, but to manage it as a historic and ongoing reality, and to support the safe, orderly and regular movement of people.

Third, it reinforces the universality of our human rights — whoever and wherever we are.  And it will contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — our shared road map for a safe, prosperous future on a healthy planet.  Finally, the Compact is a living document which recognizes that demographic, economic and other factors create a constantly changing canvas and will require an evolving response and collective responsibility.

I said earlier that the Compact represents the potential of multilateralism.  I use the word potential because the agreement, in principle, must now be matched by concrete action.

First, you will formally adopt the Compact, in Morocco, on 10 December.  The Morocco conference, at the highest political level, will bring the Compact to life and highlight our collective determination and responsibility to ensure its implementation.  I urge all your Governments to join the Secretary-General and our host, His Majesty the King of Morocco, in Marrakech.

Secondly, we must use the time until 10 December to generate momentum and ideas to give life to the Compact.  We in the United Nations system are committed to playing our part.  We have undertaken, in time for Marrakech, to put in place a United Nations migration network, to ensure coordinated, coherent support to the Compact’s implementation, with a particular focus on the country-level.

Some objectives of the Compact can be met unilaterally:  for example, the provision of basic services to migrants.  Many require cooperation, such as improving consular cooperation and promoting circular migration programs.

Other objectives can be achieved immediately.  There is nothing stopping us in the pursuit of better, more comprehensive migration data as a basis on which to develop stronger, evidence-based policies.  Much work, indeed, is already getting going in this regard.

Some, however, can only be addressed with time, such as enabling people to pursue their hopes for a better future without feeling compelled to travel outside their home countries.  Let us commit to working together in the coming months, with civil society, the private sector, civic and subnational authorities, young people and migrants’ movements, to generate ideas that will breathe life into the Compact.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration provides us, above all, with a platform for the future, but it will also be judged on its results today.  It provides a way forward to make an immediate and significant difference; to enable us to meet our collective global responsibility — if we can summon strong and universal political support.  The United Nations stands ready to assist you in rising to this challenge.

For information media. Not an official record.