16 July 2019

Stressing Migrants Put Back 85 Per Cent of Earnings into Host Countries' Economies, Deputy Secretary-General Calls for Robust Contributions at Migration Fund Launch

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the launch of the Fund for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, in New York today:

Thank you all for joining us as we launch the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration:  The Migration Fund.

Less than a year ago, United Nations Member States came together in Marrakech to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  This historic document is the first ever intergovernmentally negotiated agreement that responds to migration in all its dimensions and complexities.

The Compact is a recognition of four crucial facts.  First, migration is one of the most pressing global issues of our time.  The challenges and opportunities it presents must be managed in a more proactive and effective manner.  Second, better management of migration requires deep and broad cooperation — between States, between stakeholders and supported by international organizations.  Going it alone on complex cross-border issues will not work.

Third, whatever the challenges in countries of origin, transit or destination, all migrants have human rights that must be protected.  In the nine months since the Compact was agreed, we have seen far too many cases where that protection has been lacking, with devastating consequences.  Fourth and finally, we must recognize that migrants make a substantial contribution to sustainable development.

The Compact seeks to ensure that this contribution is boosted and not lost, amidst often heated debates about the pressures or potential downsides of migration.

Let us remember that decades of powerful evidence prove that migrants are and have been key to boosting development.  Migrants make up only 3.4 per cent of the world’s population but contribute 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP).  Migrants put back 85 per cent of their earnings into their host countries’ economies — contrary to popular perceptions of them taking more than they give.  Migrants offer expertise and entrepreneurship, ideas and inspiration, and are bridge-builders between communities and countries.

However, these benefits are not guaranteed, and often go unrealized.  For too many, the story is often tragic.  Since 2014, more than 32,000 migrants have lost their lives along their journeys.  More than 1,200 men, women and children have died this year alone.  Countless others have fallen victim to conflict, trafficking, arbitrary detention and exploitative or forced labour.  Many simply disappear without a trace.

We need to invest in making migration safe, orderly and regular.  This will move us closer to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, including target 10.7 which we review this year.

The Migration Compact calls for robust action from Member States, United Nations Network on Migration, civil society, the private sector and migrants themselves.

The Migration Fund — as called for in the Compact — is the vehicle to help us kick start joint action and needs funding for this ambitious journey.  It will support joint programmes from United Nations entities that have been endorsed by national Governments, with multi-stakeholder partnerships at the core, and committed leadership driving ambition.  It has moreover been designed to emphasize the Compact’s 360-degree approach, with no angle or collective objective privileged over others.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the other members of the United Nations migration network, many of whom are with us this evening, have been working hard to put in place some key elements to enable the United Nations system to best support Governments to respond to the Migration Compact.

United Nations migration working groups have been established in some 50 Member States.  More work is under way with our resident coordinators and at the regional level.  We have a good basis from which to move forward.

The Migration Fund can provide the impetus for all of us to take the next step; to bring the Migration Compact to life, to move us closer to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals and to effect positive change in the field of migration.

A contribution to this Fund is a declaration of commitment to the goals of the Migration Compact, and the spirit of international cooperation that underpins them.  Investing in migrants is investing in a more prosperous future for all, one in which no one is left behind.

I call on Governments, the private sector and others, to get behind and contribute generously to this fund.  And I call on all members of the United Nations migration network to continue to embrace the spirit of collaboration that defines the Secretary-General’s broader reforms.

Let us take this opportunity to make migration safe, orderly and regular, to make migration the asset can be for a social cohesion and sustainable development.

For information media. Not an official record.