Magdy Martínez-Solimán: Remarks at Thematic Session - Contributions of Migrants and Diaspora to Sustainable Development

Jul 24, 2017

Thank you Your Excellencies, Madame Chair, Ambassador Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Ambassador Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, and Ambassador Gomez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico, for giving UNDP the opportunity to contribute to this debate. 

As we heard today, there is no typical profile of migrants around the world. Fruit pickers, nurses, political refugees, domestic helpers, construction workers, academics and computer programmers are all part of the nearly 1 billion people on the move, both within their own countries and overseas. Targeted policies are essential to maximise this diversity and enable migrants to contribute with their skills, knowledge, labour and investments to the development of their country of origin and of destinations, are thus essential.

The human and professional capital of migrants and diasporas  contribute to a country’s national and local development.

The 2030 Agenda requires transforming migration from the hazardous journey it is today to a safe, regulated and de-stigmatized circulation of talent and workforce to achieve key development outcomes at home and abroad.  Capacity building for achieving the migration-related SDG targets is crucial for development.

In Morocco, for instance, the Government has integrated human mobility into the national development strategy after comprehensive discussions with diaspora organizations, immigrants, civil society and local governments.  We work with our Moroccan Counterparts to exchange their experience with Bangladesh, Ecuador, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Serbia and Tunisia in the context of an IOM/UNDP joint programme – supported by the Swiss Government- for better human mobility and development.

Much is usually said of national government's work, but less attention is given to local administration's share of the effort. 

In Turkey, Serbia and Jordan, for example, we are supporting  municipalities’ capacities to cope with the impact of massive migration on their labour markets, housing needs, health systems, education, institutions and other services strongly affected by voluminous departures, transits or arrivals.

In conclusion, we believe that good migration policies are development policies and that governments can create enabling frameworks at origin and destination countries to maximize the contribution of migrants to national and local development. This is an area of importance for the global compact for migration. With our partners in and outside the UN system, UNDP is supporting Member States in this endeavour.

Thank you.

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