UN migration meeting opened new avenues for global cooperation – Assembly president

19 September 2006

The President of the United Nations General Assembly today said the body’s recent session on international migration served to underscore how today’s integrated world can serve a positive engine of change.

The 14-15 September High-level Dialogue “revealed the potential and opportunities that globalization presents as a force for improving the lives of millions of people,” Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa said in her address to the opening of this year’s general debate.

In her closing remarks to that session, she had noted that during the two days, nearly all of the 130-plus governments present expressed the wish to continue an international dialogue on the issue of migration in some form or another. In particular, many “embraced the Secretary-General’s proposal of establishing a Global Forum on Migration and Development and the offer made by the Government of Belgium to host the first meeting of the Forum next year,” she said.

The Dialogue drove home several key points, the President concluded: that international migration is a growing phenomenon and can be a positive force for development in countries of origin as well as countries of destination, provided it is supported by the right set of policies; and that it is important to strengthen international cooperation bilaterally, regionally and globally.

The Secretary-General has proposed the establishment of a standing forum which governments could use to explore and compare policy approaches. Such a government-led consultative forum on migration and development would not produce negotiated outcomes or recommendations, according to the Secretary-General and his Special Representative on Migration, Peter Sutherland. Rather, it would make new policy ideas more widely known, add value to existing regional consultations, and encourage an integrated approach to migration and development at both the national and international levels.

The High-Level Dialogue was the first Assembly meeting to focus directly on migration, with an emphasis on identifying ways to maximize the development benefits of migration and to reduce difficulties.