Helen Clark: Statement at UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants

Sep 19, 2016

One in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee. Photo credit: UNDP

I am pleased to join this Round Table on ‘Addressing the root causes of large movements of refugees’ on behalf of UNDP. I thank the Governments of Panama, Luxembourg, Malta, and Hungary for co-chairing this important event.

The root causes of large movements of people include flight from armed conflict and human rights violations, lack of good governance, poverty, marginalization of communities, and environmental degradation – including that exacerbated by climate change. 
Throughout human history, people have sought to better their lives through leaving their homes for places where prospects may be better. 

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for responding to these large movements of people.  Big partnerships between national and local governments, civil society, private sector, the UN system, and International Financial Institutions will be needed if our collective responses are to be more effective.

So what needs to be done:    
•    First, the international community should place conflict prevention and mediation at the centre of international peace and security efforts. Early warning and response systems are needed for when tensions emerge and to foster reconciliation.

•    Second, international support is needed to strengthen good governance and the rule of law, and to address structural inequalities. Promoting inclusive economic growth and sustainable livelihoods is critical for building peaceful and inclusive societies. This is both a long term investment and a critical structural prevention effort.". 

•    Third, development actors can assist governments to improve their capacity for data collection and analysis on the root causes of displacement caused by poverty and lack of opportunity, to help design sustainable responses. 

At UNDP,
•    we provide support for host communities and help countries anticipate and prevent future crises.
•    we promote inclusive and accountable institutions which can prevent conflict, improve social cohesion, and drive inclusive development; and
•    we work to tackle inequalities, improve access to justice, and expand access to basic services.

Going forward, we will    
•    seek to ensure that the inclusion of migration and displacement issues are priorities during the implementation of the SDGs.    

•     support at least thirty programme countries over  the next five years to analyze and address the drivers of migration and of forced displacement.

•     work with partners to build the evidence and data base around migration and displacement. More needs to be known about the development impact of displacement in countries of origin and in host countries and communities.

To conclude: UNDP will continue to work in collaboration with national and local authorities, civil society, UN system partners, International Financial Institutions, and the private sector to address the root causes of large population movements. 

We look forward to advancing the outcomes of this UN Summit and to playing our part in supporting Member States to deliver on the commitment expressed in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted earlier today. 

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