International Migration Review Forum (IMRF)

May 17, 2022


As prepared for delivery

Thank you Pefi Kingi, Governance Advisor, Pacific Civil Society for your insightful remarks --

Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Tobias Lindner,

Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Migration, Refugees and Combatting Trafficking in Persons, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Ambassador Neveen E Husseiny,

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a privilege to join this opening roundtable as part of this first-ever International Migration Review Forum -- four years since the adoption of the momentous Global Compact for Migration in Marrakech.

The Compact is rooted in the 2030 Agenda, recognizing that migration is a source of prosperity and sustainable development.

This message resonates strongly with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) longstanding approach to migration. This was notably articulated in the 2009 Human Development Report, which focused on the intrinsic link between human mobility and development.

The Unique Added-Value of International Migrants

Representing 3.6% of the global population, international migrants make a vast contribution to the shaping of stronger, more resilient communities.

They were the doctors and nurses who saved lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are the people who produce the food we eat.

They study, invest and innovate.

Migrants and diasporas also support their families and communities back home.

Remittances to low and middle-income countries reached an all-time high of $589 billion in 2021 -- vastly exceeding Overseas Development Assistance.

Yet, we are also seeing how migrants, especially women, are suffering from increased xenophobia and discrimination.

In this context, I would like to highlight 3 Key Areas to set the stage for today’s roundtable.

  1. Investing in data analytics to assess the drivers of migration

First, the protection of migrants starts even before they move abroad.

Feeling compelled to leave their families and communities puts people in a position of vulnerability that may push them to undertake dangerous routes and means.

In this context, what are the economic, social and environmental factors that force people to leave their countries?

And what can we do to mitigate them?

To help countries answer these pressing questions, UNDP has developed new data analytics to assess how targeted interventions affect people’s decision to migrate.

These tools also aim to support Member States to directly address the adverse drivers of irregular and forced migration.

  1. Broadening regular pathways

Second, we know that minimizing the adverse drivers of migration should not be the central priority of migration policies.

Enhancing regular pathways is still the best way to prevent the needless deaths of migrants and reduce the negative repercussions of irregular migration.

That includes supporting labour migration, academic mobility, as well as family reunification, which all contribute to the realization of migrants’ rights, including the right to family life.

We must also better anticipate the solutions the world needs as more people will be forced from their homes due to climate change and environmental degradation.

For instance, look to nature-based solutions. Through the protection and restoration of millions of square kilometres of land, rivers and oceans -- UNDP and our partners are helping boost the resilience of countries to climate change and disasters.

However, despite such efforts, and as the effects of climate change worsen, it is now imperative to find together innovative solutions to host climate-induced international migrants.

  1. Ensuring social cohesion

Third, to promote inclusive societies and enhance migrants’ contribution to sustainable development, advancing social cohesion is pivotal.

This includes removing restrictions to labour markets, especially for women, who are often victims of gender-based discrimination, and making sure that migrants can benefit from fair and ethical recruitment practices.

Indeed, Member States that invest in developing migrants’ skills and facilitate mutual recognition of skills are not only ensuring access to decent work -- they are also helping drive forward their own socio-economic development.

Unfortunately, many societies lack empathy for migrants.

If we do not directly address hate speech, racism and discrimination, our efforts to make migration safe, orderly and regular will be in vain.

Across the world, UNDP is investing in social cohesion -- a key tool to foster peaceful coexistence between migrants and their host communities, and wider stability.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we work together towards the Progress Declaration, I would like to reiterate UNDP’s unwavering commitment to advancing the Global Compact for Migration.

Through the UN System Pledge, UNDP stated its commitment to support Member States to implement the Compact, while helping ensure the fulfilment of migrants’ human rights.

I am also pleased to announce that UNDP has adopted its own Pledge. This commits the organization to scale-up our work: to foster migrants’ integration; promote gender equality and social cohesion; and strengthen the positive interface between migration and sustainable development.

With the Global Goals serving as our collective ‘guiding stars’ we look forward to continuing working with all of you to reach our ambitious objectives.

Finally, I wish you a most productive roundtable session -- thank you.