Magdy Martínez-Solimán: 2nd International Dialogue on Migration 2016: Assessing progress in the implementation process of migration-related SDGs

Oct 11, 2016

Dear colleagues,

It’s a pleasure to be here with you today at the Second International Dialogue on Migration hosted by IOM.

Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires going beyond business as usual. Sustainable development requires whole of government and cross-sectoral approaches, and cultivating stakeholders partnerships.

The 2030 Agenda calls on the UN Development System to provide integrated and coherent support to Member States’ efforts to achieve the SDGs.  In this context, the UN Development Group has developed a common approach to provide such support to governments known as MAPS, which includes:

•    Mainstreaming the agenda into national plans and budgets,
•    Accelerating progress across the agenda, and
•    Joined-up policy support from across the system.

A UNDG assessment of requests received from Member States on SDG implementation found that 100 countries have requested UN Country Teams to 'support efforts that advance the national SDG response'. Furthermore, a review of early SDG implementation efforts and UN support  shows that 16 countries are currently focusing on:

•    Mapping existing national plans and frameworks against the SDGs;
•    Defining an institutional architecture to support SDG implementation and monitoring, and ensuring policy coherence across multiple sectors and at different levels of government;
•    Formulating long-term visions covering the full duration of the 2030 Agenda;
•    Preparing public awareness raising campaigns involving a multitude of stakeholders and using technology and social media to engage the public.

Member States are also asking the UN to conduct training and workshops for civil servants and technical staff of government agencies, parliamentarians, mayors and other key stakeholders, to familiarize them with the 2030 Agenda.

Countries have expressed the need to build capacity to generate data and statistics for SDG follow-up and for the review process at all levels. The principle of leaving no one behind in the 2030 Agenda calls for 'high quality, accessible, timely, reliable, and disaggregated data by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts. As we move towards greater data disaggregation by migratory status, it becomes clear that focusing on migrants, among other important groups, will have a significant impact on the realization of the SDGs. Migrants, internally displaced persons, and refugees are often vulnerable groups at risk of being left behind—and therefore a critical stakeholder constituency for the SDGs. Better data will enable governments and development partners to devise well-planned and tailored policies to reach different communities and address their specific needs and vulnerabilities.

Many countries have also requested UN support to map existing indicators at the country level against the global indicator framework to identify ways to improve data availability, including big data.

Some examples of early efforts undertaken so far to implement the SDGs at the national level come from countries facing complex situations. Many of them are confronted with migration and displacement: Somalia, Uganda, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

In Morocco, a focus country of the UNDP-IOM Joint Programme on Mainstreaming Migration in National Development Strategies, integrating human mobility into national development strategies has shown that comprehensive national discussions with diaspora organizations, immigrants, civil society and local governments are critical to devise successful strategies linking human mobility to positive development outcomes. We see this as an opportunity to deepen the work already started to fully align with SDG implementation, both in Morocco and in the seven other focus countries of the joint programme—Bangladesh, Ecuador, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Serbia and Tunisia.

Overall, migration, displacement and more generally human mobility are in many ways directly or indirectly linked to the implementation of the SDGs. UNDP recently spearheaded a comprehensive process to prepare a global guidance note on integrating migration and displacement into UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs), in collaboration with IOM and partner agencies of the Global Migration Group. Applying this guidance note, UN Country Teams will work hand-in-hand with national governments to comprehensively and concretely mainstream human mobility into national development policies. This guidance note makes clear that we need integrated approaches by UN Country Teams to work jointly on the multi-dimensional challenges and opportunities brought by human mobility.

SDG implementation should also consider that large inflows of internal or external migrants or refugees can pose challenges for the receiving and transit communities -challenges that need to be addressed by assessments of, and interventions within, the affected communities, including migrants and non-migrants.

But the possibility of emigration, immigration, and migrants’ contributions to communities of origin and destination alike, can also be assets in the advancement of the SDGs. This is especially true where migrants, IDPs and refugees have the capacities to become active agents of development. UNDP is working with its partners to establish training material that will help UN country teams and partners of the UN to meaningfully address the links between human mobility and the SDGs. To this end, experts from a broad range of development sectors have to come together to jointly build capacities to address human mobility and the links to SDGs in sectors such as health, environment, poverty eradication, economic development, and many others.

To achieve the SDGs for, and through, human mobility, it is therefore paramount to create capacities, not only at the national level but also at the sub-national and local levels. For example, the Joint Migration and Development Initiative, which is based on a partnership among 7 UN agencies (UNDP, IOM, UNHCR, UNITAR, UN Women, UNFPA, and the ILO’s International Training Center), shows that the creation of capacities to address human mobility at the local level can very effectively foster the positive development outcomes associated with human mobility.  

UNDP’s experience is better reflected in our ability to help operationalize the 2030 Agenda on the ground.  As a first step towards implementing the SDGs, we have been supporting Member States to conduct Rapid Integrated Assessments of national and sub-national development plans against the SDGs targets. These assessments provide a gap analysis of the SDG targets that are not prioritized in the current plans and of those that have been prioritized by multiple sectors. We need a careful analysis of where migration-related targets stand in such exercises. This joint support work could well become one of the first action points for the implementation of the UNDP-IOM Statement of Intent for strengthened cooperation between our organizations, signed last month in New York at the margins of the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants.

With the MAPS support now well established, UNDP stands ready to collaborate with IOM to support Member States in the effective mainstreaming of migration into SDG implementation, through the well-established UNDG and UN Country Team processes. This will require broad-based capacity building support, beyond training and workshops.

It will also require a multi-sectoral approach and enhancing the capacities of many different actors and partners. The interlinked framework of the SDGs provides the ideal backdrop to both enhance the positive effects of human mobility and minimize the risks and vulnerabilities that can be associated with it. Factors that limit positive human development outcomes for migrants and displaced people are often political in nature;  we have to work on addressing political bottlenecks too, and this includes changing the narrative about migration. This is what the newly launched initiative by the UN Secretary-General aims at: “Together: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.  Highlighting the positive contributions made by refugees and migrants.”

Let me conclude by stressing again that human mobility is a key dimension in our work to achieve the SDGs. Development policies have to consider and address it; and migration policies have to be recognized as development policies.

Thank you.

UNDP Around the world